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      Nurses and opioids: results of a bi-national survey on mental models regarding opioid administration in hospitals

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          Abstract

          Objective

          Pain remains insufficiently treated in hospitals. Increasing evidence suggests human factors contribute to this, due to nurses failing to administer opioids. This behavior might be the consequence of nurses’ mental models about opioids. As personal experience and conceptions shape these models, the aim of this prospective survey was to identify model-influencing factors.

          Material and methods

          A questionnaire was developed comprising of 14 statements concerning ideations about opioids and seven questions concerning demographics, indicators of adult learning, and strength of religious beliefs. Latent variables that may underlie nurses’ mental models were identified using undirected graphical dependence models. Representative items of latent variables were employed for ordinal regression analysis. Questionnaires were distributed to 1,379 nurses in two London, UK, hospitals (n=580) and one German (n=799) hospital between September 2014 and February 2015.

          Results

          A total of 511 (37.1%) questionnaires were returned. Mean (standard deviation) age of participants were 37 (11) years; 83.5% participants were female; 45.2% worked in critical care; and 51.5% had more than 10 years experience. Of the nurses, 84% were not scared of opioids, 87% did not regard opioids as drugs to help patients die, and 72% did not view them as drugs of abuse. More English (41%) than German (28%) nurses were afraid of criminal investigations and were constantly aware of side effects (UK, 94%; Germany, 38%) when using opioids. Four latent variables were identified which likely influence nurses’ mental models: “conscious decision-making”; “medication-related fears”; “practice-based observations”; and “risk assessment”. They were predicted by strength of religious beliefs and indicators of informal learning such as experience but not by indicators of formal learning such as conference attendance.

          Conclusion

          Nurses in both countries employ analytical and affective mental models when administering the opioids and seem to learn from experience rather than from formal teaching. Additionally, some attitudes and emotions towards opioids are likely the result of nurses’ cultural background.

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          Most cited references 66

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          Risk as analysis and risk as feelings: some thoughts about affect, reason, risk, and rationality.

          Modern theories in cognitive psychology and neuroscience indicate that there are two fundamental ways in which human beings comprehend risk. The "analytic system" uses algorithms and normative rules, such as probability calculus, formal logic, and risk assessment. It is relatively slow, effortful, and requires conscious control. The "experiential system" is intuitive, fast, mostly automatic, and not very accessible to conscious awareness. The experiential system enabled human beings to survive during their long period of evolution and remains today the most natural and most common way to respond to risk. It relies on images and associations, linked by experience to emotion and affect (a feeling that something is good or bad). This system represents risk as a feeling that tells us whether it is safe to walk down this dark street or drink this strange-smelling water. Proponents of formal risk analysis tend to view affective responses to risk as irrational. Current wisdom disputes this view. The rational and the experiential systems operate in parallel and each seems to depend on the other for guidance. Studies have demonstrated that analytic reasoning cannot be effective unless it is guided by emotion and affect. Rational decision making requires proper integration of both modes of thought. Both systems have their advantages, biases, and limitations. Now that we are beginning to understand the complex interplay between emotion and reason that is essential to rational behavior, the challenge before us is to think creatively about what this means for managing risk. On the one hand, how do we apply reason to temper the strong emotions engendered by some risk events? On the other hand, how do we infuse needed "doses of feeling" into circumstances where lack of experience may otherwise leave us too "coldly rational"? This article addresses these important questions.
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            Cognitive-experiential self-theory integrates the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious by assuming the existence of two parallel, interacting modes of information processing: a rational system and an emotionally driven experiential system. Support for the theory is provided by the convergence of a wide variety of theoretical positions on two similar processing modes; by real-life phenomena--such as conflicts between the heart and the head; the appeal of concrete, imagistic, and narrative representations; superstitious thinking; and the ubiquity of religion throughout recorded history--and by laboratory research, including the prediction of new phenomena in heuristic reasoning.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2017
                01 March 2017
                : 10
                : 481-493
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Pain Medicine, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
                [2 ]Division of Epidemiology and Biometry, Department of Health Services Research, Faculty 6, Medicine and Health Sciences, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany
                [3 ]Pain Service, Barts Health, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, UK
                [4 ]Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Pain Therapy, Oldenburg University, Klinikum Oldenburg Campus, Oldenburg, Germany
                [5 ]Department of Surgery and Cancer, Anaesthetics Section, Imperial College London, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Campus, London, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Carsten Bantel, Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Pain Therapy, Oldenburg University, Klinikum Oldenburg Campus, Rahel-Straus-Strasse 10, 26133 Oldenburg, Germany, Tel +49 441 4037 7173, Email carsten.bantel@ 123456uni-oldenburg.de
                Article
                jpr-10-481
                10.2147/JPR.S127939
                5338981
                © 2017 Guest et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                nurses, opioids, mental models, decision-making

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