Date of Submission
The aim of this study was to acquire knowledge of the way Spanish-speaking patients experience pain and pain management after surgery and to analyse how their experiences, lack of knowledge of the English language and their cultural beliefs may influence their experiences. The study outcomes will assist health professionals to provide a culturally appropriate pain management plan when not able to speak English and to care appropriately for Spanish-speaking patients and for other Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) patients.
An interpretive phenomenological approach informed by Gadamer’s (1979) theory was used to explore seven participants ‘in-depth stories.’ The study sought to answer the following research question: What are Spanish-speaking patients’ experiences of postoperative pain and pain management in an acute setting?
The findings that emerged from the data analysis were grouped within eight main ‘having your pain assessed’, ‘having your pain relieved’, ‘not understanding the medication’, ‘trying to communicate but not being understood’, ‘having no voice’, ‘not understanding what they are saying’, ‘wanting and needing an interpreter’, and ‘having an accredited interpreter’.
Throughout the data analysis, it emerged that while pain and its management were a significant part of the participants’ postoperative experiences, their pain experiences were often overshadowed by problems with language and communication. Overall, the findings showed that communication (and its lack) and staff attitude and knowledge were the most significant issues when managing the participants’ postoperative pain.
The major practice and education implications from this study include the need for staff education on the need for holistic pain assessments, use of interpreters and associated policies and guidelines as well as staff cultural awareness and sensitivity when caring for CALD patients and their families.
School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine
Master of Nursing (MNurs)
Faculty of Health Sciences
Bruinsma, N. (2011). A qualitative study of Spanish-speaking patients’ experiences of pain after surgery (Doctoral thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/theses/388