University of Southern Indiana

Pain Management Program

Description of Program
Pain is a common reason for individuals to seek health care.  Pain is a leading public health problem in the United States. Yet the experience of pain is complex involving physical, emotional, and cognitive components. As the experience of pain is subjective, one must consider that the individual is seeking relief of distress and suffering. The healthcare provider may have a lack of knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs that can affect pain management. Therefore, effective pain management requires a systematic, coordinated approach by well-prepared healthcare professionals.  The program was designed utilizing the latest clinical guidelines and test content for certificate examinations.   

Information regarding the Pain Management Nursing Certification exam by the American Nurses Credentialing Center can be obtained at http://www.nursecredentialing.org/NurseSpecialties/PainManagement.aspx

Information regarding a Certified Pain Educator through the American Society of Pain Educators can be obtained at http://www.paineducators.org/

Information regarding the General Credential Pain Practitioner program through the American Academy of Pain Management can be obtained at http://www.aapainmanage.org/credentialing/

Who Should Enroll in this Program?
This program is designed for English-speaking nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare providers who have, or want to prepare for, responsibility for monitoring and managing patients diagnosed with pain.

Program Content
The content is divided into modules. Each module utilizes instructor outlines, audio/video recordings, reading assignments, articles, web resources, case studies to augment the learning process. These methods provide the participant with flexibility in completing assignments and interacting with the faculty.  Each module has accompanying study guide(s) with questions (such as multiple choice, essay) for participants to submit to faculty.  Interaction with faculty may occur as feedback to study guides, within discussion boards, or via email. The modules cover physiology and pathophysiology of pain, patient assessment, pain management guidelines, pharmacology, alternative and invasive interventions, and managing pain in diverse patient populations. 

A textbook is required for this program.  Upon registration, you will receive detailed information to purchase the textbook.  

Program Schedule
This 10-week activity is offered two times a year.  

2017 Dates
Start End
Jan. 16 March 10
July 31 Sept. 22

Learning Outcome
The purpose of this activity is to enable the learner to successfully incorporate current therapeutic guidelines and best practice in the management of patients experiencing pain.  

Program Objectives
At the conclusion of this program, the participant will be able to:

  1. Examine the problem of pain as a public health problem in the United States.
  2. List pain management guidelines and policy statements.
  3. Describe the national trends in pain management.
  4. Describe strategies to improve pain management.
  5. Recognize methods to integrate pain assessment in the health care professional's practice.
  6. Identify appropriate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions for pain management.
  7. Characterize The Joint Commission and other national standards for pain management.

Delivery of Content
The content is delivered asynchronous via the online learning management system, Blackboard. The internet provides an opportunity for interaction with program faculty while in the comfort of learning in your own home and office.  Program staff are available during business hours by phone or email to assist participants with technical issues or concerns. 

Note: Many businesses, especially government agencies or health institutions, utilize security firewalls.  Access to web links within program and communication from the instructor, or other students may be blocked. We recommend not using your work email address for this course.

Contact Hours

40 contact hours (6 hours specific to Pharmacotherapeutics)

The program content meets the pharmacology continuing education requirements for the renewal of the advanced practice nurse prescriptive authority license. Nurses will receive 40 total continuing education credits of which 6 hours are specific to Pharmacology credit.  

Successful completion of this program does not guarantee expertise in the content. Clinical experience and judgment coupled with an understanding of the content are necessary to attain competency. Achieving certification is a means to demonstrate competency.

Criteria for Successful Completion

  • Submit registration and payment.
  • A certificate for contact hours will be awarded following successful completion of study guides for each module, receive a passing score of 70% or better on comprehensive final, and submission of program evaluation.

The certificates will be sent via email within approximately 30 days following the completion of the program.

Faculty Name and Credentials
We strive to provide interprofessional education by utilizing a variety of content experts, instructors, contributors, and reviewers.    

Melissa Warthen RN, MSN
M. Jane Swartz DNP, RN, ACNS-BC

Conflict of Interest Statement
There is no conflict of interest for anyone in a position to control content for this activity.

Accreditation with Distinction

The University of Southern Indiana College of Nursing and Health Professions is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. USI was recognized as accredited with distinction through November 30, 2018.


State of California

The University of Southern Indiana is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Provider #13378.

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) School of Nursing and Health Professions works closely with the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance to offer several online continuing pharmacy education (CPE) programs. The Indiana Pharmacists Alliance (IPA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. Refer to the course descriptions to determine if the course includes CPE and review the requirements.


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