Nursing in a multidisciplinary pain centre in Denmark

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To call a pain centre multidisciplinary, there has to be doctors, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and psychologists employed. We work at a private centre and we receive approximately 1.100 new patients a year. We are only two nurses employed.
In Denmark the rate of pain patients are 1 out of 5, which means that around 1 million Danes suffers from pain. In Denmark, like in many other countries, the nurses are the wingmen of the doctors in the treatment of their patients.
In Denmark, the Danish Health Board has decided that nurses can do some of the doctor’s work. The only requirement is education and training.
Some doctors give a lot of responsibility to the nurses. That way the nurses feel much more active and co-responsible for the treatment of the patients. If nurse’s don´t have to make decisions on their own, it is easier to lay back and just follow orders. If you are a decision maker, you need empathy and accountability which makes the job even more worthwhile.
At our clinic, we handle all medication on the basis of standards. That way we have the possibility to act in an individual way with every patient. We don´t have to consult the doctors before changing medication, we do it on basis of the standard and our knowledge.
We are part of the first assessment of the patient together with the doctor, a physiotherapist, a social worker and a psychologist. The nurse is from day one the main contact at the centre. Knowing that, many patients trust the nurse and confide in them with personal matters, which can be of big importance for the treatment. They feel safe.
The nurses have medical appointments with the patients just like the doctors, where we optimize medicine and talk about the difficult barriers after becoming a chronic pain patient.
Every day the nurses answer lots of phone calls, to help out our patients in-between appointments that are scheduled. It could be problems with their medicine or side effects, social problems and concerns of any kind. If we don´t have a qualified answer, we talk to the team, and give the patients a feedback.
No 2 days are the same, and that makes nursing challenging and never a daily routine.