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Quantitative study—other
Health professionals' pain management decisions are influenced by their role (nurse or physician) and by patient gender, age and ethnicity
  1. Sean M Phelan1,
  2. Rachel R Hardeman2
  1. 1Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA;
  2. 2Minneapolis VA Health Care System Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research and University of Minnesota, Department of Medicine, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Sean M Phelan, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St. SE, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; phelan.sean{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Healthcare providers from different fields may respond differently to patients with pain. On average, nurses rated pain intensity higher than physicians and were more likely to prescribe opioids.

  • Patient demographic characteristics may influence nurses' and physicians’ perceptions of pain intensity and decisions to treat pain with opioid analgesics.

  • This study must be replicated with a more robust study design before findings can be translated into recommendations for intervention.


A growing body of evidence documents the existence of pain management and treatment disparities by sex, race and age. For instance, racial and …

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  • Competing interests None.