Activity 11.6: Reflective practice

Think about a situation that you have encountered where analgesics were withheld or not given when the patient required it; can you identify the main obstacle to achieving analgesia?

There are times when analgesics have been administered but have not worked effectively this is when the nurse usually tells the patient ‘you are not due anything yet’ – this is not acceptable as the medication given might not have had time to work or might not be strong enough or be the wrong type for the pain experienced. You might have observed medication being withheld because ‘the doctor needs to examine the patient in pain to find out what is causing it’ – again this is wrong and analgesics should never be withheld for this reason. However, there are times when analgesics can be withheld due to concerns related to the dose or potential side effects – all you need to do in this case is discuss the situation with the prescribing doctor.

Now reflect on what you could have done for the patient – could you have advocated for them, initiated alternative interventions, explained why they could not have their analgesia or ensured that analgesia was given?