PICU Nurses' Pain Assessments and Intervention Choices for Virtual Human and Written Vignettes.

Cynthia M. LaFond, University of Iowa
Catherine Van Hulle Vincent
Colleen Corte
Patricia E. Hershberger
Andrew Johnson
Chang G. Park
Diana J. Wilkie


The purpose of this concurrent mixed-methods study was to 1) examine the factors pediatric intensive care unit nurses consider when assessing and intervening for children who report severe pain and to 2) determine the effect of child behavior and diagnosis on the nurses' pain ratings and intervention choices for written and virtual human vignettes. Quantitative and qualitative results substantiated that despite recommendations to use self-report, many PICU nurses use behavior as the primary indicator to assess and treat pain, even when a child is old enough to articulate pain intensity and there is sufficient cause for pain to be present.