Theories and practices in pain management: A research on doctors’ representations - Pain is a symptom often associated with disease, but several studies indicate that hospital pain management continues to be inadequate. This fact seems to depend on representations of the problem and professional practices which are not likely to change. The purpose of this qualitative study, conducted in two hospitals in the north of Italy, is to analyze pain representations held by doctors, and their implications with respect to the practices adopted in assessment and treatment of pain. The results - expressed by the interviewees - indicate three meanings connected to different professional practices: pain is represented as a clinical cue, as a request for help and for attention and as a symptom to be treated. These different meanings are explained in relation to the bipolar nature of pain representation’s nucleus which seems to be structured around the dialectic between subjective and objective pain.
Key words: pain, pain-free hospital, doctors, social representations, qualitative research, content analysis
Parole chiave: dolore, ospedale senza dolore, medici, rappresentazioni sociali, ricerca qualitativa, analisi del contenuto.