Treating Persistent Pain: A Nurse Co-Led, Interdisciplinary Model for Primary Care


      The public health crisis of chronic pain has only increased in recognition since the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Relieving Pain in America (2011) called for a cultural transformation in the way pain is viewed, treated, and put forward specific recommendations for action. The National Pain Strategy (NPS) provides a roadmap for putting these recommendations into practice. We implemented a program that placed nurses and behavioral specialists at the head of an interdisciplinary team utilizing best practices. In this program, nurses enacted the NPS recommendations to advance care for patients with persistent pain on long-term opioid treatment. This program promoted professional growth in nurses along with fostering success for patients. Compared with patients receiving usual care, patients in the program achieved greater reductions in pain severity, pain-related disability, and pain-related functional interference and reported greater satisfaction with pain-related care and primary care services. This article will detail the NPS-aligned practice approaches these nurses and their teams used, describe the training for the nurses, and speak to opportunities to enhance the nurse's capacity for this role in hopes of providing a model for the future implementation of an NPS-based approach by nurses.
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