The influence of race and gender on nursing pain management decisions

Hampton, Sharon B.
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This research assessed whether gender and race of the patient and gender or race of the provider influenced health care decisions in post-operative pain management. A randomized four group post-test only experimental design was used to examine the nursing care decisions of Black and White, male and female, licensed practicing nurses. A vignette intervention was developed to simulate four exact patient scenarios that differed only by patient race and gender. A quota sample of 400 nurses was recruited using a self-selected face-to-face recruitment technique. A four-way between groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) assessed whether the gender of the nurse, race of the nurse, gender of the patient, or race of the patient made any differences in the dose intensity of pain medications selected by the nurse sample. No significant interactions were noted between any combinations of the four independent variables. A significant main effect was noted in dose intensity for nurse gender [F (1,384) = 9.75, p= 0.002]. There were no significant main effects for race of the nurse or for race or gender of the patient.

Therefore, the findings reveal that the sample of nurses as a whole selected moderate dose intensities for pain management. Female nurses were significantly more likely to choose a lower dose intensity than male nurses across all patient types. Although not significant, on average, white female patients were administered the highest dose intensities while white male patients received the lowest dose intensities. White female nurses also selected a higher dose intensity for white female patients.

Methodologies and outcomes from reported research studies done on pain management and provider/patient characteristics are varied. The results from this study were produced by a large nurse sample that was evenly stratified across nurse gender and race and equally and randomly assigned to patient vignettes across patient gender and race. This strengthens the results and adds solid information to the current body of literature

Social sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Nursing care