Acute Pain Nursing Care Plan

Disclaimer: This is a sample of acute pain nursing care plan and should be adapted to fit the specific needs of each patient. It is important to follow facility protocols and physician’s orders when providing pain management care.

Pain is a highly subjective in nature.

A painful sensory and emotional experience connected with existing or potential tissue damage, or characterized in terms of such harm, is the most common definition.

PATHOPHYSIOLOGY: Acute Pain Nursing Care plan

In order to fully understand the effects of pain, it is necessary to understand the pathophysiology of it.

The activation of peripheral pain receptors particularly A delta and C sensory nerve fibres result in Acute Pain, which typically occurs as a result of tissue damage.


Patient will report a decrease in pain level to a manageable level (e.g., 3/10 or less) on a pain scale within 4 hours of intervention.

Outcomes: Acute Pain Nursing Care Plan

  • Patient will verbalize the use of appropriate pain management strategies.

  • Vital signs will remain within normal limits for the patient.

  • Patient will demonstrate improved comfort and relaxation (e.g., relaxed facial expressions, decreased muscle tension).

  • Patient will be able to participate in activities of daily living (ADLs) to the extent possible.



  • Administer pain medication as prescribed by the physician.

  • Monitor for effectiveness and potential side effects of medications.


  • Following physician orders ensures safe and appropriate medication administration for pain relief.

  • Monitoring helps identify if the medication is effective and if there are any adverse reactions requiring intervention.


  • Positioning: 

Assist the patient in finding comfortable positions to minimize pain.

  • Application of heat/cold therapy: 

Apply heat or cold therapy as appropriate for the pain source (check physician’s orders).

  • Relaxation techniques: 

Guide the patient through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or guided imagery.

  • Distraction: 

Offer diversions such as music, conversation, or light entertainment to distract from the pain.

  • Patient education: 

Educate the patient about pain management strategies, including proper use of pain medication and non-pharmacological techniques.


  • Proper positioning can alleviate pressure on painful areas and improve comfort.

  • Heat/cold therapy can provide localized pain relief depending on the source (e.g., heat for muscle pain, cold for acute injury).

  • Relaxation techniques can help decrease muscle tension and anxiety associated with pain.

  • Distraction can shift the patient’s focus away from the pain, offering temporary relief.

  • Education empowers patients to manage their pain and participate actively in their care.


  • Developing a pain management plan: 

The nurse works with the doctor to create a personalized plan considering medication, non-pharmacological approaches, and patient goals.

  • Coordinating care: 

The nurse collaborates with other healthcare professionals to ensure a comprehensive approach to pain management, including physical therapy for pain relief or social work support for addressing psychosocial factors affecting pain.

  • Monitoring for side effects: 

While the doctor prescribes medication, the nurse monitors for potential side effects and collaborates with the doctor on managing them.


  • A collaborative plan leverages the expertise of different healthcare professionals for optimal pain management.

  • Coordinating care ensures all aspects of pain, including physical, emotional, and social factors, are addressed.

  • Monitoring for side effects allows for early detection and intervention to prevent complications.


  • Continuously assess the patient’s pain level using the chosen pain scale.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of pain management interventions.

  • Document the patient’s response to interventions and any changes in pain level or vital signs.

  • Modify the care plan as needed based on the patient’s response.


  • Document all assessments, interventions, and patient responses in the patient’s medical record.

  • Document the effectiveness of pain management strategies.

Additional Considerations:

  • Cultural considerations: Be mindful of cultural beliefs and preferences related to pain management.

  • Individualized care: Tailor the pain management plan to the patient’s specific needs and preferences.

  • Communication: Maintain open communication with the patient and other healthcare team members regarding the patient

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