Differential Medication of Child Versus Adult Postoperative Patients: The Effect of Nurses’ Assumptions

Juan C. Gonzalez, Donald K. Routh, F. Daniel Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We examined nurses' assumptions concerning children and analgesia that have been hypothesized to explain the differential medication of postoperative child and adult patients. One hundred fourteen nurses from various pediatric and adult inpatient units of a large, urban teaching hospital were included in the study. A questionnaire consisting of four vignettes describing two hypothetical postoperative situations involving a child and adult patient, questions concerning choice of analgesic and assessment of pain for the hypothetical patients, and questions concerning the nurses' assumptions about children and analgesia was distributed to each nurse. The findings illustrate a pattern of differential medication of hypothetical child relative to hypothetical adult postoperative patients. The belief that children feel less pain than adults and concern about respiratory depression were associated with nurses' analgesia decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-59
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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