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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)



Thesis Committee Chairperson

Lynda Cessario, PhD, CNS, CNE, RN

Second Reader

Maria Gambino, MS, RN


A qualitative action research study, guided by Lewin’s theory of change (1951), was conducted to investigate the barriers and facilitators for nurse practitioners to effectively manage pain in patients with addiction issues. A purposeful sample of four nurse practitioners was solicited and obtained via a Facebook posting. The design of this study was phenomenology. The setting was determined by the participants and included: the personal home of a participant and physicians’ lounge and private office at the workplace of participants. Participants responded to interview questions generated by the researcher in face-to face interviews. Data analysis identified various facilitators and barriers to effective pain management in patients with addiction issues. The facilitators that were identified were as follows: (a) utilization of referral sources, (b) clinical experience with addiction, (c) communication skills with patients, and (d) I-STOP. The barriers identified were as follows: (a) lack of knowledge, (b) lack of complete guidelines in managing pain in patients with addiction issues, (c) fear of patient relapse, and (d) personal bias. Based on the study, an action plan was developed to overcome the barriers. It can be concluded from this study that the nurse practitioners sampled believe that nurse practitioners favor effective pain management in patients with addiction issues and feel obligated to treat both pain and addiction issues simultaneously using a collaborative approach. The implications from this study suggest that effectively managing both pain and addiction issues is a necessary, yet challenging duty of nurse practitioners. Recommendations for further research include: (a) additional investigation exploring this phenomenon, (b) replication of the study utilizing a larger sample size, and (c) implementation of the action plan with a comparison study to evaluate the effectiveness of the suggested interventions.