Date of Award

Fall 11-30-2020

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Sarah Cartwright

Second Advisor

Anne Hranchook


Practice Problem: Healthcare providers worldwide are working to battle the opioid epidemic and reduce opioid-related harm to patients. Utilizing evidence-based acute pain management methods to reduce opioid consumption is critical to combat the problem.

PICOT: The PICOT question that guided this project was: In opioid-naïve adult patients undergoing general anesthesia for out-patient, minimally invasive abdominal wall hernia surgery, how does the implementation of an evidence-based, preventative Pain Control Optimization Pathway (POP) using a multimodal, opioid-sparing acute pain management technique and standardized procedure-specific opioid prescribing, compared to standard treatment, affect postoperative pain scores and opioid consumption, upon discharge from the recovery room and 72 hours postoperative?

Evidence: Evidence supported utilizing a multimodal, opioid-sparing acute pain management technique, patient counseling, and opioid prescribing guidelines to improve outcomes among opioid-naïve patients undergoing abdominal surgeries.

Intervention: In this pre- and post-intervention evaluation, N = 28 patients received the POP care process during the perioperative period.

Outcome: Results showed the mean pain score at discharge from the recovery room decreased from 4.8 to 2.82 on the 10-point Numeric Rating Scale post-intervention (p< 0.001). Also, provider compliance with prescribing a procedure-specific opioid prescription increased from 73% to 100%, thus reducing opioid exposure and access.

Conclusion: This project provided evidence that utilization of the innovative POP care process provided optimal pain control and decreased opioid consumption, consequently reducing the risk of new persistent opioid use.


Scholarly project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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