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Starts at $9.98 per contact hour
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4 hours $8.98
8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Pain Management in Special Populations: Surgery, Cancer, and HIV

2.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe the types of pain seen in clients who have undergone surgery or are coping with cancer or HIV and to describe the methods, both traditional and nontraditional, for managing these challenging pain concerns.
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Health care professionals often face difficult challenges when working with clients who have undergone surgery or who have cancer or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These clients encounter unique problems with their health conditions, especially when trying to manage their pain.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • List the types of surgeries and invasive procedures seen in the acute and outpatient setting.
  • Describe types of surgical pain.
  • Explain methods for managing surgical pain.
  • Describe pain management alternatives, including types of medications, routes of administration, and alternative therapies.
  • Describe the barriers to effective cancer pain management
  • Identify types of cancer pain.
  • Describe the prevalence of pain related to HIV infection.
  • Identify etiologies of pain related to HIV infection.
  • Describe common syndromes of pain with HIV infection as well as common treatments for these types of pain.
  • Describe complementary therapies available for clients with HIV-related pain.


Pain is an almost universal phenomenon in instances of surgical intervention and trauma. Surgery is an invasive intervention with the intention of treating, controlling, curing, or stabilizing a medical problem, and it carries with it many risks. Despite these risks, the primary fear of clients who are about to have surgery is pain: Will it hurt? How much will it hurt? How will I (the client) deal with it? How can it be treated or prevented?

Surgical intervention is a treatment choice for countless conditions. It is used to repair traumatic damage in the case of accident or injury, treat congenital anomalies, remove foreign bodies, treat disease, reduce inflammation to relieve pain, improve function, change appearance, and assist with childbirth or as an exploratory or diagnostic procedure.

Pain after surgery may be the same as pain prior to the surgery, and it often continues through the recovery and postoperative periods as well as after discharge. The length of time that pain can be moderate or severe after surgery depends on the type of procedure, the length and complexity of the procedure, the patient’s condition at the time of surgery, and the pain relief provided throughout the perioperative period. The quality of pain relief provided during the perioperative period can impact the patient’s recovery experience in either a positive or negative manner and can affect long-term outcomes as well. For example, well-controlled pain improves recovery time and reduces the risk of complications such as pneumonia or blood clots. It also allows the individual to better complete tasks important in healing such as walking and deep breathing exercises (Cleveland Clinic, 2017). In addition to the physiological effects of inadequately treated pain, the increased emotional and physiologic distress can add to the pain experience and decrease the effectiveness of treatments being used to relieve pain (D’Arcy, 2011a).

Surgery can be emergent in nature (an emergency), unexpected, or planned (elective). When surgery is emergent or unexpected, pain management is usually focused on the intraoperative and postoperative experience. In other cases, such as when the operative procedure is elective, healthcare providers and patients have more time to develop a plan of care for preventing or managing pain both preoperatively and postoperatively, as well as provide the patient with adequate education about various pain management techniques.

Although prior preparation for surgery is the ideal situation for any patient who needs surgery, the healthcare team is responsible for effectively managing pain no matter what the cause or circumstance surrounding a surgical procedure. An operative procedure may be curative, restorative, controlling, or palliative. Considering the reasons for surgery, as well as prior preparation and the personal meaning of the procedure to the client, are all-important in planning for pain management.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

June 01, 2020

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.