Positioning Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners as Change Champions to Implement a Pain Protocol in Long-Term Care
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Pain management for older adults in long-term care (LTC) has been recognized as a problem internationally. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) as change champions during the implementation of an evidence-based pain protocol in LTC. In this exploratory, multiple-case design study, we collected data from two LTC homes in Ontario, Canada. Three data sources were used: participant observation of an NP and a CNS for 18 hours each over a 3-week period; CNS and NP diaries recording strategies, barriers, and facilitators to the implementation process; and interviews with members of the interdisciplinary team to explore perceptions about the NP and CNS role in implementing the pain protocol. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The NP and CNS used a variety of effective strategies to promote pain management changes in practice including educational outreach with team members, reminders to nursing staff to highlight the pain protocol and educate about practice changes, chart audits and feedback to the nursing staff, interdisciplinary working group meetings, ad hoc meetings with nursing staff, and resident assessment using advanced skills. The CNS and NP are ideal champions to implement pain management protocols and likely other quality improvement initiatives.
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