Rwanda Journal of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Neonatal pain management among nurses and midwives at two Kigali hospitals

Claudine Muteteli, Olive Tengera, Marcella Gowan


Background: The care of high-risk neonates in intensive care units is a relatively new field in resource-limited countries. Consequently, pain management of neonates has not been included or considered as part of neonatal care. Neonatal pain is more difficult to assess than adult pain, as they are unable to self-report. Nurses and midwives caring for neonates have a professional responsibility to recognise and manage neonatal pain.

Objectives: To assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of nurses and midwives providing neonatal pain management at two hospitals in Kigali.

Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional design was used. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 66 nurses and midwives providing neonatal care. Data analysis was achieved through descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results: The majority (74.2%) demonstrated a low level of knowledge of neonatal pain and its management. Over half (51.5%) had a positive attitude toward neonatal pain management, though over three quarters (84.8%) reported a low level of integrating pain management into practice.

Conclusions: There is a knowledge deficit among the nurses and midwives providing neonatal pain management. A gap lies between their attitude and practice. More educational opportunities are needed to better assess and manage pain in the neonatal patient.

Keywords: Neonate, NICU, pain management, knowledge, attitude, practices

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