Nursing care plan for acute pain



Pain is a common physical experience that is both highly subjective and difficult to measure in a reliable way. Acute pain begins abruptly and often has an identifiable cause, for example, injury or surgery. It can range from mild to severe but usually fades after the underlying problem is treated. Although the safety and comfort of the patient is the main priority when treating acute pain, nursing care plans are a great way to ensure effective and comprehensive management.


A comprehensive assessment should be conducted before constructing a nursing care plan for acute pain. The patient’s medical history and current condition should be documented in detail, with particular attention paid to any report of prior pain and its management. Additionally, physical examination is usually required to determine the intensity and characteristics of the pain. The patient should also be asked to rate their pain using a pain scale.

Nursing Diagnosis

Once a thorough assessment has been conducted, various nursing diagnoses can be considered relevant to the patient’s acute pain. Commonly used diagnoses include but are not limited to: Acute pain, Impaired Comfort, Anxiety, Risk for Injury and Activity Intolerance.


Using care plans, nurses can set patient-oriented goals that will help reduce symptoms, inform interventions and improve overall outcomes. Outcomes should be specific, measurable and realistic; for example, relief of moderate pain and improved sleep. In addition, it is also important to consider potential risks associated with the proposed treatments.


  • Pharmacological: Drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids can be used to reduce inflammation and provide relief from painful symptoms.
  • Non-pharmacological: In addition to pharmaceuticals, other interventions may help to reduce acute pain. These include but are not limited to hot/cold packs, massage, relaxation techniques, positional changes, distraction tactics and psychotherapy.


The planned interventions and rationales should be documented in the care plan. A rationale is an explanation for why an intervention has been chosen, based on the collected data and assessment of the patient’s condition. Every action should be reflective of the identified problem and the desired outcome(s).


It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions implemented and document the results. If pain persists or increases, the plan needs to be revised. It is also imperative to note any changes in the patient’s cognition/mood, function and general wellbeing as these may have an influence on their pain perception.


Nurses play a vital role in making sure that patients with acute pain receive the care they need. Utilizing structured nursing care plans can significantly improve the quality and efficacy of patient care. With accurate assessment and individually tailored plans, nurses can devise suitable interventions, monitor patient progress and adjust the plan according to the patient’s needs.


    1. What is a nursing care plan?

A nursing care plan is a written plan of care established by a nurse and patient which outlines the actions necessary to manage a patient’s medical condition.

    1. What is acute pain?

Acute pain is a sudden, sharp pain that is usually related to tissue damage, such as an injury or illness.

    1. What are some interventions for acute pain?

Common interventions for acute pain include pharmacological (i.e. drugs), non-pharmacological (i.e. hot/cold packs, massage), relaxation techniques, positional changes, distraction tactics and psychotherapy.

    1. How can nursing care plans help with acute pain?

Nursing care plans can provide guidance for providing tailored, individualized care for patients experiencing acute pain. They can help nurses to identify goals, design interventions and evaluate the effectiveness of their care.

    1. What should be included in a nursing care plan?

A nursing care plan should include an assessment of the patient's medical history and current condition, nursing diagnosis, specific goals, planned interventions, rationales, evaluation and potential risks.

Isabella White

Hello to all nursing enthusiasts! I'm Isabella White and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this space dedicated to the exciting world of nursing. Let me share a little about myself and what we can expect together on this journey. About Me: Nursing is more than just a profession to me, it's a calling. When I'm not caring for my patients or learning more about health and wellness, you'll find me enjoying the great outdoors, exploring new trails in nature, or savoring a good cup of coffee with close friends. I believe in the balance between caring for others and self-care, and I'm here to share that philosophy with you. My Commitment to You: In this space, I commit to being your reliable guide in the world of nursing. Together, we'll explore health topics, share practical tips, and support each other on our journeys to wellness. But we'll also celebrate life beyond the hospital walls, finding moments of joy in the everyday and seeking adventures that inspire us to live fully. In summary, this is a place where nursing meets life, where we'll find support, inspiration, and hopefully a little fun along the way. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. Welcome to a world of care, knowledge, and connection! Sincerely, Isabella White

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