Date of Award

Fall 1989

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Uncontrolled pain is the symptom most feared by the terminally ill cancer patient. Nurses can help allay the fear by providing effective measures which lessen the severity of the pain experience, The most commonly used measure to control pain is analgesics. Nurses and doctors collaborate in the choice and evaluation of analgesics. Frequently there is a helter-skelter approach to the choice and route of administration of analgesics. This scattered approach is a detriment to the patient experiencing pain by prolonging the pain experience unnecessarily. The nurse confronts the patient's pain by deciding which prescribed analgesic to give and by which route. There is a derth of nursing research that assists clinical nursing decisions regarding effective analgesia. Building on analgesic research and theoretical knowledge about pain pathways, a practical guide that assimilates this information for the clinical nurse is needed. An analgeic guide specific for nurses will help practicing nurses make rational, informed decisions about the choice and delivery of analgesics. This guide developed for nurses will standardize nursing assessment, care and documentation of pain control with which nurses are intimately involved. The purpose of this written essay is to review pertinent literature on various analgesics and effective delivery of these analgesics to the terminally ill cancer patient. The review of literature has resulted in the development of a guide for use by the clinical nurse. Supplying available research about analgesics to the clinical nurse will result in optimal pain control to the cancer patient. Specific recommendations for clinical practice and future nursing research will be presented.