Analysis of pain content in nursing textbooks

Betty Ferrell, Rose Virani, Marcia Grant, April Vallerand, Margo McCaffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


This paper reports on one goal of a project designed to improve end-of-life (EOL) care in nursing education. The goal was to improve the content regarding pain and EOL care included in major nursing textbooks. A descriptive study used content analysis of 50 textbooks selected from a potential of over 700 texts used in nursing education. The 50 texts included 45,683 pages. The text review was conducted using an analysis framework and included content analysis as well as quantification of the content present in the texts. While pain was the most common topic in the texts, the 248 pages of pain content represents only 0.5% of total text content. All nine areas of EOL content (902 pages) comprised only 2% of overall text. Particular weaknesses in the review of pain content were recognized in pharmacologic management of pain. In summary, nursing texts have limited content on pain. Increased attention to this area is essential to prepare nurses to care for patients at the end of life. Copyright (C) 2000 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-228
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Nursing education
  • Pain
  • Pain education
  • Textbooks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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