Critique of Literature Review

Craig, J. (2014). Nursing Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Pain Management . Nursing Theses and Capstone Projects.

Research Problem

The research problem identified for this study deals with pain management. It is recognized that nurses have an important role in the process of assessment, relief, and evaluation of pain. Pain among patients is known to negatively influence their comfort level (Craig, 2014). This requires the nurses to possess adequate knowledge and understanding to ensure systematic assessment and documentation of pain. However, due to clinical barriers, there exist knowledge deficits on methods and principles of pain management. Other identified barriers such as personal and cultural prejudice, and communication inefficiency creates a situation of suboptimal pain management. It is in this light that the study is designed to investigate more on the research problem on acquiring knowledge and attitudes connected with pain among postsurgical patients.

Sources in the literature

The review of literature used in a study requires the determination of whether the sources are primary empirical sources or secondary sources. Primary empirical source cites original studies that have been carried using direct observation, statistical methods, interview and experimental studies. The primary empirical works cited normally have various sections that indicate that research have been carried out following a scientific method (Nieswiadomy, 2012). In this article, the literature used primary empirical studies. These include study by Chung & Lui (2003), Klopper et al (2006), Manias, Botti & Bucknall (2006), Sloman et al (2005), Niemi-Murola (2007), Gunniberg (2007), Idval et al (2005), Dihle (2006), McNamara et al. (2012), Abdalrahim  et al (2011), Wilson (2007), Machira et al (2013). These sources are identifiable as primary empirical sources as their methodology reported includes the processes of sampling, data collection, data collection, instruments and present statistical results which are components for a scientific study. These sources are also acquired from journals thereby justifying them as primary empirical sources. The study does not cite secondary sources. Secondary sources would be identifiable as they are made up of interpretations and evaluations of the works on primary studies.

Current studies 

Current sources in a study are those articles that were published within a time period of five years before the research paper citing them was accepted for publication. In this study, having been published in 2014, the current sources will be sources published between 2009 to 2014. The examples of these articles in this literature review include; Abdalrahim et al. (2011), Alshaer et al. (2011), Bader et al. (2010), Bell & Duffy (2009), D’Archy (2013), Lewithwaite et al (2011), Machira et al. (2013), Macnara, Harmon & Saunders (2012), Wang &Tsai (2010), and White & Kehlet (2010).

Relevant studies

In this literature review being critiqued, the sources are relevant for the study’s research problem and problem. Relevant sources are identifiable due to their direct bearing with the problem under study (Nieswiadomy, 2012). These studies help in offering more information for the topic understudy and also inform on the research gap. For this study, the relevant sources cited had either a connection to either pain management or nursing attitudes to assisting patients deal with pain (Craig, 2014.

Relevant theories

The study makes reference to a theoretical concept on holistic comfort. This is identified as a desirable outcome for the nursing care in a clinical environment. This theoretical concept is necessary in describing  measures on the levels of discomfort that patients face after a surgery. The theory under use here is Kolcaba’s theory of comfort. This theory identifies three types of comfort being relief, ease, and transcendence. These forms of comfort are necessary in supporting the process of homeostasis (Craig, 2014). The theory offers the standard comfort interventions among them being dealing with pain which is the main idea under study being reviewed.

Relevant Landmark studies

These studies indicate the researchers conducted on the study topic and whose results have substantive influence on the clinical practice, in this case on pain management (Nieswiadomy, 2012). The source on Wilson & Kolcaba (2004) is a landmark research that was conducted among nurses in attendance of conferences on American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses and the Association of Perioperative for Registered Nurse on their notion on patient comfort. From this study, the theory of comfort was developed which described the comfort intervention necessary to help patient attain higher levels of comfort (Craig, 2014.

Mode of citation: Paraphrasing or Quoting?

The citation of the primary empirical sources has mainly been done through direct quotation especially on the representation of the statistical findings. This in way helps justify the relevance of the source in providing more information for the study. However, paraphrasing has been used within the literature review to help represent the source but in a manner that promotes the flow of the content. Some of the paraphrased quotes include; ‘ one main theme emerged about the nurses’ approach to  postoperative pain management”, “pain education should  target knowledge deficits and barriers to changing pain management approaches”, ‘finding showed that during the preoperative phase, nurse identified patients’ outcomes levels of pain and frequencies at 21% and 20% (Craig, 2014. 

Knowledge Gap

The literature reviewed depicts the knowledge available with regard to pain management and the attitude of the nurses on the same. It then points at the key non-pharmacological methods which hold a lot of potential in providing pain therapy and yet remains underutilized. In this connection, the review of the literature indicates a gap in determining reasons for the low rate of absorption of the non-pharmacological pain therapy. It further identifies the need to assess the attitudes and knowledge of the nurses in relation to these pain management methods.


The literature review presented in this article can said to be systematic, written properly in focused and critical manner. It has also been given good structure (Marco, 2013). The literature review has an introduction which highlights the main themes to be discussed. Then, articles relating to pain management and nurses attitudes are presented systematically with statistical methods for various sources well represented. Capping it all is a summary of the main arguments presented in the literature review which leads to identification the knowledge gap.

Logical build-up of the case

The literature has been presented in a logical manner that is easily understandable. The role on nurse in the medical profession in dealing has been identified as a strategic position of carrying out assessment and managing pain. The studies pertaining to this have identified. The studies have established the role of nurses in communicating the needs of the patient and offering an in-depth assessment. The need to carry out pain assessment prior and after administrating analgesic has been emphasized. There is need to measure the effects of pain management using pain scores  which needs to be documented in the patient’s chart. The literature indicates that nursing educational programs has the potential of enhancing knowledge of nurses’ on pain management as well create a chance to deal with negative attitudes and beliefs. These programs have not been very successful which necessitated the need to carry out an assessment on the nurses’ knowledge and attitudes on pain management.


Craig, J. (2014). Nursing Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Pain Management . Nursing Theses and Capstone Projects.

Marco, P. (2013). Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review. Computational Biology.

Nieswiadomy, R. M. (2012). Foundations of Nursing Research (6th Ed.). Boston: Pearson. 978-0-13-211857-6

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