The following is the summary of “Treating Persistent Pain: A Nurse Co-Led, Interdisciplinary Model for Primary Care” published in the December 2022 issue of Pain management by Benes, et al.

Since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published Relieving Pain in America (2011), which advocated for a cultural shift in the way pain is regarded and managed and put forward specific recommendations for action, the public health epidemic of chronic pain has only gained recognition. These ideas can be put into action with the help of a road map that is provided by the National Pain Strategy (NPS). Researchers put in place a program that put behavioral specialists and nurses at the helm of an interdisciplinary team that was responsible for implementing the best practices. 

Within the framework of this initiative, nurses put the recommendations made by the NPS to improve care for patients dealing with chronic pain who were receiving long-term opioid medication into action. In addition to creating success for patients, this program fostered the nurses’ professional development as well. Patients who participated in the program reported higher levels of satisfaction with pain-related care as well as primary care services. This was in comparison to patients who received the standard treatment for their condition.

Patients in the program achieved greater reductions in pain severity, pain-related disability, and pain-related functional interference. This article will describe the training that the nurses received, talk about opportunities to enhance the nurse’s capacity for this role, and detail the NPS-aligned practice approaches that these nurses and their teams used in the hopes of providing a model for the future implementation of an NPS-based approach by nurses.