Date of Award


Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Committee Chair

Joanie Wofford

Committee Member

Bret D. Alvis


Chronic pain--Treatment, Pain--Treatment, Veterans--Medical care--United States, Opioids--Therapeutic use--United States


The purpose of this scholarly project was to identify a clinical intervention that would generate improvements in patients’ medical knowledge, understanding, and postoperative pain management with opioid medications. The population identified was veterans undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasties at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee. A convenience sample, Likert pain scale, and the Teach-back approach were used as a framework for improving patient knowledge and understanding of pain management and prescribed opioid use. Pre- and post-discharge provider observations and patient Likert scale verbal responses regarding postoperative pain levels were collected and the information used to address patients’ educational needs. Patient knowledge and understanding were determined to be vital components of the health care education and decision making processes. The Teach-back method is an evidence-based, patient-centered approach used to confirm patient understanding of clinical instructions. It is critical that patients are assessed regarding their understanding of their medical conditions and related health risks, prescribed medications, and self-care regimen. In addition, with the rise in opioid medication abuse and misuse, health care providers must acknowledge the importance of adequate provider/patient communication essential to achieving desired health outcomes.



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