I am outraged that an RN would hold back on adminstering pain meds for any patient. If she/he has any questions in regards to the patients SELF assessment for pain level, instead of simply staring in a doorway, the RN ought to be doing his/her own assessment by actually talking to the patient.
I say this as someone who has been a nurse since 1982, who has had more than my fair share of illness and pain, have watched family members die, and feel that taking care of any patient should be like taking care of one of mine. I find that the biggest issue today in pain management is the disconnect that many health care "professionals" demonstrate partially because they are afraid of addiction issues(not usually a problem for short term acute pain care), or because the meds that the docs order don't cover the patients pain adaquately, and instead of asking the doc to increase the dose, or switch to something more potent, simply answer the patient with the old standby, "Doctor ordered this medication and you can have it in another _____ minutes." and that's supposed to help?
Another problem, of course, is if someone comes into the hospital, in acute pain with some acute condition that they've suffered with before, and tell the nurse that X medication is the best pain medication for that condition. Instantly the mental bars go up- "OOOOOooooooOOOOO, WE know ALL about drug seekers", even if the patient is simply trying to expidite things.
And worst of all, working in a university teaching center, is the fact that many of our health care professionals and students are young enough that they have never been ill enough to be in a hospital. They have NO idea how much pre-op and post-op pain hurts, or how nasty it is to have an NG tube shoved down your nose/throat...They are pretty much idiots were that's concerned.
I once was working near a couple of medi students who were talking about a patient and the three of them were having a jocular talk about just "dropping a tube", as if it were no big deal. I turned and asked them, "Have any of you ever been ill enough to have a tube dropped?" No. No. And No. I said, "Well, perhaps you ought to try dropping a tube yourself and see how much fun that is." The three of them vanished....
Sorry, got carried away about the topic of pain medication and the lack of understanding on the part of oh so many health care "professionals" about how to treat it, professionally.