"My pain is about an eight and a half"

  1. Do you ever get patients who give you decimals for their report of pain? Somehow they lose credibility with me when they do this. Seriously, they can't settle on either and 8 or a 9? And, they think that we really care to that degree?
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    About Emergent, RN

    Joined: Dec '13; Posts: 2,488; Likes: 18,137

    67 Comments

  3. by   NurseSince2014
    All the time. It makes documenting difficult since I have to pick one number or another, it cannot be in between. It also affects, sometimes, how much pain medication I can give a person. For example, for a pain of 6, a person might receive one dose and for a 7, that dose might be doubled. So, it's very difficult, then, when that person rates their pain at 6.5.
  4. by   Tenebrae
    My personal favourite is the one who asks for morphine for 10/10 pain and when you take the med into them they are lounging back on the bed, looking as relaxed as
  5. by   ICUman
    "It's a 12", while playing a game on their cell phone. Oh how pain is subjective...
  6. by   Davey Do
    Quote from Emergent
    Do you ever get patients who give you decimals for their report of pain? Somehow they lose credibility with me when they do this. Seriously, they can't settle on either and 8 or a 9? And, they think that we really care to that degree?
    I hear you, I hear you I hear you...

    HOWEVER: When I was in ER last year for my bicycle wreck injury, I rated my pain the same way. Now, even though I had a head-on MVA when I was 19 years old and suffered multiple injuries, I base my "10" on knee surgery I had when I was 36 years old. So, initially, when the ER nurse asked me what my pain level was, I said "8 or 9". After they gave me pain medicine and patched me up, I rated my pain at a "2 or 3".

    I thought about the situation afterwards and asked myself, "Why didn't you just say '3', or '8'? I didn't really think about it at the time.

    I know, I know, I know... Patients and the pain scale are boogers.

    But- what the hey? It's only a point of reference.

    And no, Emergent, we really don't care to any great degree.
  7. by   Emergent
    Somehow, "an 8 or a 9" is entirely different than "8 1/2".

    I get not wanting to commit to a stupid number. But giving fractions is a little overly precise...
  8. by   cleback
    Brian Regan - Emergency Room HD - YouTube

    @4:32 "Say eight!"

    One of my favorite comedy sketches
  9. by   RNNPICU
    I recently went to an Urgent care center for something because the pain was so bad. WHen they asked me to rate my pain I also said 8 or 9. I am not sure why that came out but it did. I told them it wasn't a 10 because I was certain something could hurt more than this, but it was bad enough that 600mg of advil didn't help. But I wasn't sure which one . - Sigh. I now just SMH at myself.
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Davey Do
    I hear you, I hear you I hear you...

    HOWEVER: When I was in ER last year for my bicycle wreck injury, I rated my pain the same way. Now, even though I had a head-on MVA when I was 19 years old and suffered multiple injuries, I base my "10" on knee surgery I had when I was 36 years old. So, initially, when the ER nurse asked me what my pain level was, I said "8 or 9". After they gave me pain medicine and patched me up, I rated my pain at a "2 or 3".

    I thought about the situation afterwards and asked myself, "Why didn't you just say '3', or '8'? I didn't really think about it at the time.

    I know, I know, I know... Patients and the pain scale are boogers.

    But- what the hey? It's only a point of reference.

    And no, Emergent, we really don't care to any great degree.
    See....you HAVE a point of reference. Not as bad as the knee. Worse than a migraine, better than a hangnail.... I think that for a lot of us who don't have a reference, we struggle with the number. I started using the Whaley and Wong faces with my new job and I *think* it produces a better response. There's no way to quantify a face on a chart, though....
  11. by   OldDude
    We use the number system for kids 8 and over in Urgent Care. I tell them, "No, our computer program doesn't allow for 1/2s. You have to tell me a single number." I seldom get 10s. I explain that 0 is no pain and 10 is imminent death.
  12. by   brownbook
    I have diagnosed math/number phobia .

    I seldom ask what number their pain is. It's not that hard to get a good idea from what the procedure was, the patient's demeanor, report from anesthesia, etc. They are grimacing and moaning, I say I'll get you something for pain and give the highest "safe" dose. They are sitting up, alert, visiting, eating and say it hurts a lot I give them a smaller dose. I put a pain number in the box to match what I gave.

    Of course it isn't so black and white as I make it sound, but it works quite well most of the time.
  13. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    I round it up for documentation purposes.

    My favorite, though? "Oh, my pain isn't bad at all. I give it an 8."
  14. by   jaderook01
    I'm at the point where I document what they state their pain is and then also document what I perceive their pain to be on the faces scale. If they give me half numbers, I round up.

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