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Understanding and Managing Burn Pain: Part 1

Connor-Ballard, Patricia A. PhD, ACNS-BC

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: April 2009 - Volume 109 - Issue 4 - p 48–56
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000348604.47231.68
Feature Article

Burns are among the most intensely painful injuries. All patients will experience pain, regardless of the cause, size, or depth of the burn. Despite advances in topical wound care and pharmacology, and a growing emphasis on palliative care, wound care is the main source of the pain associated with burn injury. A deeper understanding of the many aspects of treating burns and their associated pain can help nurses to provide more effective analgesia. In this two-part article, the author explores burn pain and its treatment from a nursing perspective. Part 1 provides an overview of burn injury and addresses the wound care–related causes of burn pain as well as its assessment and treatment. Part 2 will address the psychosocial aspects of burn pain and will provide a more in-depth discussion of pain management and topical medications.

Burns are among the most painful of all injuries. Many clinicians consider burn-related pain to be unavoidable, yet some can be prevented.

Patricia A. Connor-Ballard is the director of the Inova Learning Network and interim chief nurse executive for the Inova Health System, in Northern Virginia.

Contact author: patricia.connor-ballard@inova.org. The author of this article has disclosed no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.