Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Cindy Tofthagen, Ph.D., A.R.N.P.

Committee Member

Susan C. McMillan, Ph.D., A.R.N.P.

Committee Member

Laurie Stark, M.S., R.N.


opioids, cancer, education, palliative, care


Over 1.4 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually. Of those people, 70-90% experience some form of pain. Numerous efforts have been made to educate nurses in the management of pain, yet 30-50% of cancer patients report that their pain is poorly managed. It is not clear whether nurses who obtain certification in Oncology are better equipped to manage this patient population regarding their pain issues. This study compared the knowledge of Oncology Certified Nurses (OCN) and Non-Certified Oncology Nurses (NCON) regarding pain management.

The sample of 41 oncology nurses included 19 who were certified in oncology and 22 who were not certified in oncology from two Oncology Nursing Society Chapters in West Central Florida. The nurses sampled were predominately Caucasian (n=35), females (n=38), with a mean age of 48.9 years, all caring for patients in an oncology setting. The participants completed a brief demographic form and the Pain Management Principles Assessment Test (PMPAT).

Results of the study showed that the Oncology Certified Nurses scored significantly higher (mean = 71%; SD = 2.9) on the PMPAT than did the Non-Certified Oncology Nurses (mean = 62%; SD = 3.6). Although the sample size was small and limited in geographic location, the results are adequate in providing meaningful results (p = .007). Findings suggest that there is benefit to oncology certification, allowing nurses to provide more comprehensive care for cancer patients in pain.