Date of Award


Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Committee Chair

Lenora Smith

Committee Member

Amanda Comer


Cancer--Patients--Palliative treatment, Cancer pain, Pain--Treatment


Pain is a commonly encountered symptom associated with cancer. Palliative care providers are specially trained to manage pain and other symptoms. Standardizing the use of a screening tool for pain assessment and treatment is important in managing this patient population. The purpose of the Doctor of Nursing project was to standardize pain screening in cancer patients within a palliative care program to improve pain identification, rapid implementation of pain therapies, and ongoing monitoring of pain. Included in the project was a multidisciplinary palliative care team, located at Baptist Healthcare Corporation in Memphis, TN. A clinical practice change was implemented in palliative care cancer patients to standardize how pain is assessed, treated, and followed utilizing the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System – revised (ESAS-r) screening tool. The palliative care team was trained in the use and implementation of the ESAS-r. The ESAS-r screening was then completed on the day of consultation and at 48 hours in cancer patients admitted to the inpatient service. At the conclusion of the project, 34 patients completed both screenings. Pain was reduced by 25.7% in 48 hours. There was an increased utilized of fixed opioid regimens by 234% and an increase in gabapentinoid prescribing by 37.4%. These findings supported the need for expert palliative care consultation with pain and other symptoms being assessed using a standardized screening tool.

Available for download on Saturday, February 08, 2025