Paediatric Clinical Pain Nurse Specialist

Since 2014, the role of Paediatric Clinical Pain Nurse Specialist at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital has been funded by The Archie Foundation, however a shortfall in funding put the role at jeopardy. 

The ARCHIE Pain Nurse works with young patients – directly supporting over 500 young patients every year -  dealing with acute pain on the surgical and medical wards, as well as supporting children in the patient assessment unit, post-operative patients and those in the high dependency unit. The pain nurse also supports patients suffering chronic pain through a fortnightly outreach clinic and ,sadly,  the role also involves managing pain for palliative patients. 

Good pain relief is primarily a humanitarian issue, however effective acute pain management is also believed to improve the quality of clinical care by preventing complications, reducing length of hospital stay and promoting recovery and rehabilitation.

The impact of chronic pain for children is extensive, it adversely impacts schooling, relationships with peers and the ability to experience childhood activities, all of which can negatively impact not only the child’s but also the families’ mental health and quality of life. 

But, the role is about much more than prescribing medication. 

A key element is educating children and their parents in pain management strategies and techniques and providing training for nursing staff. The ARCHIE pain nurse has identified staff learning needs via formal evaluation process and has developed, and continually rolls out a focused and well evaluated teaching schedule.  

Nursing staff in key areas have been trained and deemed competent in the use of patient-controlled analgesia pumps, epidural pumps and in the use of Entonox. This focused and high-level training has allowed for an expert and consistent level of care to be provided across in-patient areas.  

The ARCHIE Pain Nurse works closely with the play therapists in delivering a holistic approach to pain control.  In addition to the management of experienced pain, the nurse provides continuity, builds relationships with children and families by getting to know them and planning how best to support them before procedures occur.  Evidence shows that managing both the anxiety of anticipating a procedure as well as the pain caused by the procedure itself is the best way to keep pain under control. 


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