Explore a career in pain management nursing

May 27, 2016

community nursing

A pain management nurse is a licensed RN who specialises in treating patients suffering from acute or chronic pain brought on by an illness or injury. This is a great career option if you are looking for a specialty that allows you to work one-on-one with patients for extended periods of time, helping them lead pain-free lives.

Job Description & Work Settings

The primary responsibilities of a pain management nurse include carrying out a thorough assessment of the symptoms, developing appropriate treatment plans, helping patients learn to manage their own symptom-related or chronic pain and continuously monitoring the patient’s progress. The specific duties of these nurses may vary based on their job roles within a particular establishment.

Pain management nurses usually work alongside physicians and other healthcare specialists in order to come up with the most appropriate treatment plans for the patient.

Education about pain management is a very important aspect of this job. Pain management nurses have to educate patients and their families so that they understand how to administer pain medicines properly and take other necessary measures to reduce the pain as much as possible. To be able to do this tactfully, you need to demonstrate empathy and have good communication skills.

In addition to good communication skills, nurses in this specialty also need to be knowledgeable about alternative pain therapies and possess good pain assessment skills when assessing patients’ complaints of discomfort or pain.

Education & Training Requirements

Licensing is essential if you want to become a nurse. In order to do this, you can complete an Associate’s degree in nursing which will take two years. Another option is to complete a four year bachelor’s degree in nursing. Even though the first option is much quicker and a convenient option for those who do not want to spend too much time on their education, the four year degree is often a better option if you plan on gaining advanced degrees and other certifications.

After you complete your degree and become a licensed nurse, you have the option of pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. If you want to aim really high, you can even pursue a master’s degree in order to become a nurse practitioner. This will give you the opportunity to work in pain management practices as a nurse practitioner.


Certification is still not mandatory in order to work in pain management but it is a good option to get certified if you are planning to pursue a career in this field. A lot of the certification tests are computer based and they are available throughout the year. However, you will also need to have worked for at least two years prior to giving the exams and completed a minimum of 2000 hours of work that is directly related to pain management in order to be eligible to give the test and apply for certification.

Think nursing might be the job for you? Our work shadowing programs are perfect for answering any final questions about the role, and definitely gives you the edge over other applicants.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.