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Children who undergo surgery experience significant pain in the post anesthesia care unit. Nurse and parent behaviors in the post anesthesia care unit directly impact child postoperative pain. Therefore, we have developed and evaluated (Phase 1) and then tested (Phase 2) the feasibility of a new intervention (Nurse and Parent Training in Postoperative Stress) to alter parent and nurse behaviors in a way consistent with reducing child postoperative pain.


In Phase 1, a multidisciplinary team of experts (physicians, nurses, and psychologists) developed an empirically‐based intervention which was then evaluated by experienced nurses (N = 8) and parents (N = 9) during focus groups. After revising the intervention based on focus group feedback, it was tested in Phase 2 using a pre‐post study design. Nurses (N = 23) who worked in the recovery room were recruited to be part of both pre‐ and post‐intervention data collection periods. Parents were recruited to be part of either the pre‐ (N = 52) or post‐intervention (N = 60) data collection periods. Nurses and parent‐child dyads were recorded in the post anesthesia care unit and videos were coded for the desired (i.e., behaviors that may decrease child pain) and non‐desired (i.e., behaviors that may increase child pain) behaviors. Pain data was collected from the children's medical records to assess pain after surgery. The intervention was given to the nurses and parents in the post‐intervention data collection period.


Nurses significantly increased their rate of desired behaviors by 231% (p = 0.001; Somer's D = 1) and significantly decreased their rate of non‐desired behaviors by 62% (p = 0.004, Somer's D = ‐0.88, 95% CI [‐1.74, ‐0.03]). Parents significantly increased their rate of desired behaviors by 124% (p = 0.033). Moreover, the intervention significantly decreased child pain in the post anesthesia care unit (b = ‐2.19, SE = 0.63, z = ‐3.46, p = .001, 95%CI [‐3.43, ‐0.95]).


The intervention was effective in changing nurse and parent behaviors as well as child pain after surgery.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Pediatric Anesthesis in 2019 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version will be available online at DOI: 10.1111/pan.13649.


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