Written by: Heather Metz AGNP-C
In my ten years as a registered nurse, pain was the sixth vital sign, something to take seriously and treat promptly. Pain is exactly what the patient states it is. I am now a practicing nurse practitioner, specializing in chronic pain management. During my practice many of my patients tell me they feel a stigma or passing of judgment from their peers when they learn of their chronic pain condition. This creates feelings of hurtful rejection and isolation. Patients with chronic pain may fall into isolation or withdraw from family, work, and social contacts. Patients may even lose their sense of purpose or self.
When an illness or disease cannot be physically seen, finding effective treatment becomes much more difficult. The overriding message that I want my patients to understand, here at JPI – we see it. We see your symptoms, we hear your concerns, and we will work-up and evaluate a treatment plan. We will also continue to research, innovate, and educate to break the stigma surrounding chronic pain.
“When in pain, always be prompt to remind yourself that there is nothing shameful about it”
Carr, D.B. (2016). Patients with pain need less stigma, not more. Pain Medicine, 17(8), 1391-1393. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw158