UF Nursing PhD Student Shares Pain Insights with UF Health

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, College of Nursing PhD student Gina Gehling hosted a UF Health Nursing Grand Rounds session to shed some light on the most common, ‘invisible’ illness: pain.

In a one-hour session, Gina covered all things related to a nurse’s role in pain, from how patients describe it at the bedside, how it can be diagnosed and how practitioners prescribe medications for pain management.

According to Gina, it is especially important that patients and nurses work together throughout the entire pain assessment process. Even though patients may assume that their pain is not worth discussing, care team encouragement to share what they are experiencing is essential to help them find much-needed relief.

“The patient with pain is the true expert on how they feel,” she said. “As nurses, we need to always know the goal for pain therapy. It’s this partnership that leads to the most effective pain management possible.”

Gina’s research interests are in chronic pain, specifically pain caused by sickle cell anemia, a disease that causes red blood cells to break down, as well as how our own DNA can change the way we might perceive pain. Through her PhD program, Gina has learned just how important high-quality pain-related care is at every stage of life.

“I firmly believe every nurse could benefit if they knew what I know now about pain,” she said. “With this new information, I hope that nurses will be able to feel confident in their pain management practice.”