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Pain Management Pillars for the Clinical Nurse Specialist

Summary of National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Opioid Pain Management Task Force

Klaess, Cynthia C. MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCM; Urton, Michael DNP, AGCNS-BC; Whitehead, Phyllis PhD, APRN, ACHPN, RN-BC; Rosier, Patricia Kelly MS, RN, ACNS-BC; Burnie, Jeannie MS, APRN, AGCNS-BC, CEN, FAEN; Michel, Marti DNP, RN, PCNS-BC, CPNP

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000449
Feature Article

Purpose: This article describes the work of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) Opioid/Pain Management Task Force and provides guidance for the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in evidence-based pain management interventions and organizational program development.

Description: In September 2016, the NACNS commissioned a group of pain management experts to identify the resources that CNSs need to address appropriate opioid use and pain management in various practice settings. Challenges faced by CNSs related to opioids and pain management were identified through NACNS Conference forums and a pain management survey of NACNS members.

Outcome: On the basis of member input, the task force highlighted key components, or pain pillars, necessary for optimal pain management. Use of these pillars can guide the CNS and healthcare organizations to develop comprehensive pain management practices that provide the foundation for safe, effective, and individualized patient care.

Conclusions: As an expert in clinical, professional, and systems leadership, the CNS is ideally suited to convene interprofessional groups focused on pain management including development of organizational philosophies, policies, and evidence-based care.

Author Affiliations: Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (Ms Klaess), WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Raleigh, North Carolina; Clinical Assistant Professor and Clinical Nurse Specialist Program Director (Dr Urton), ECU College of Nursing, Greenville, North Carolina; Clinical Nurse Specialist (Dr Whitehead), Palliative Medicine/Pain Management, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and Associate Professor Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke, Virginia; Surgical Clinical Nurse Specialist (Ms Rosier), Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Emergency Department Clinical Nurse Specialist (Ms Burnie), Bethesda North Hospital, TRiHealth, Bethesda; Nurse Practitioner (Ms Michel), Pediatric Anesthesia & Chronic Pain, Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health Physicians.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Cynthia Klaess, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCM, WakeMed Health & Hospitals 3000 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27610 (

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