Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

Laura K. Andrews

Second Advisor

Ruth McCorkle


Of the >500,000 adult cardiac surgeries performed in the U.S. yearly, 54% are performed on the elderly. The American College of Critical Care Medicine indicated that 82% of cardiac patients reported pain as the most common traumatic memory of their ICU stay. Pain is an important stressor in critical care settings. The lack of effective postoperative pain management impedes early mobilization and sufficient sleep, leads to postoperative complications and higher costs, and contributes to a longer length of hospital stay. Adequate multi-modal and individualized postoperative cardiac surgery pain relief and postoperative pain relief in general, are imperative. Effective pain control after cardiac surgery is a worldwide problem, but the evidence shows that the problem can be addressed effectively. Best practice guidelines for providing effective pain management after cardiac surgery in the geriatric patient for RNs and prescribing clinicians caring for this patient population in the acute care setting are outlined.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access