As an RN for 30 years (most of it in the Emergency Department, Addiction Treatment & Acute Care), I’ve seen how “pain management” has failed in our country. The CDC has reported that despite opioid sales quadrupling between 1999-2013, patient pain levels are essentially unchanged, and sadly >40 people are losing their lives daily from overdoses. I’ve been wondering if resisting pain is part of the problem… After all, Carl Jung stated years ago, “That which we resist, persists.”
Let’s harness the energy from fighting pain… into gaining COMFORT
I am currently in Grad School examining my idea of “Comfort Quest” which essentially reverses the old pain scale- placing Comfort at 10 (SMILING), pain at 0 (sad face). When a patient is not optimal on the COMFORT scale, I ask them, “Do you think it’s a body, mind or spirit issue causing the problem today?” It’s amazing the answers I get (especially with chronic pain complaints) and the relief patients feel simply by explaining their situation and feeling heard. Narcotics don’t cure any of those causes… Dialogue is opened, trapped emotions get expressed and gentle healing can begin.
How will this help our Pain?
One of the main goals in using this positive tool will be patient empowerment. Part of my thesis is that we, as a society, have given up on the amazing power within our own body/minds. If we don’t feel well we assume that something is wrong and that there must be a pill to solve the problem. Wouldn’t it be more effective to actually listen to our bodies instead of silencing the messages? I suggest that we FEEL what is going on and allow it to move through us (instead of trapping the pain/ emotions). As we are healing, we can also employ our own amazing neurochemicals to help us regain homeostasis & balance. Supporting us along the path back to vitality will be the vision of Comfort…
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates
Think about these ideas- I’d love to hear your thoughts! There is so much more to explain as we work towards a better plan based on sound science and the power of the human body/mind. I feel that it’s definitely going to take ALL of us (doctors, PA’s, NP’s, RN’s, etc.) working together with our patients to reclaim “health care” once again…
In health and happiness,
Lisa Evers, RN