In 2017, New Hanover Regional Medical Center nurses conducted clinical research that affected the care of pediatric patients the world over. The nurse researchers -- NHRMC pain management clinical nurse specialist Ann Quinlan-Colwell, nurse educator Gayle Thear, pediatric registered nurse Emily Naughton, and pediatric critical care nurse Andrea Smith -- formally evaluated the Pasero Opioid-Induced Sedation Scale and showed it is appropriate and safe to use with children. The scale is used to assess a patient’s sedation level and prevent negative respiratory events, which can be fatal, when administering opioid medications to manage pain.
Finding that the Pasero scale can safely be used with pediatric patients was just one result of the study. It also showed that nurses’ assessment of children’s pain improved when they used the Pasero scale. In addition, nurses documented children’s pain levels more often, a trend that has continued after the study’s completion; and they had a standardized method to communicate patients’ sedation levels.
The study had another consequence: pediatric nurses were pleased to have a more objective way to communicate with parents and each other. By using the Pasero scale they could clearly communicate their patients’ level of sedation and why medication should or should not be changed.
The impact of this research on the Pasero scale has extended far beyond NHRMC. The study was published in the prestigious Journal of Pediatric Nursing, and NHRMC’s nurse researchers presented their findings at the International Association of Neonatology in Madrid.
Because NHRMC encourages nurses to ask important research questions and supports their participation in research, its nurses have the opportunity to improve the care of patients throughout the world.
“Conducting research gives nurses a taste for what can be done,” says Quinlan-Colwell. “They can make a difference not only in their unit or hospital but globally.”
“By this study, you have made pain management safer for pediatric patients throughout the world.” -- Chris Pasero, developer of the Pasero Opioid-Induced Sedation Scale