University of Southern Indiana

Pain Management Independent Study 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

Information regarding a Certified Pain Educator through the American Society of Pain Educators can be obtained at

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 Schedule
The program is an open enrollment independent study.  You have access to the content 24/7 until completion.  Completion of the program is required within one year of registration.

Program Content
The content is divided into modules. Each module utilizes 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.  

Learning Outcome

The learning outcome of this activity is to enable the learner to successfully incorporate current therapeutic guidelines and best practice in the management of patients experiencing pain through interprofessional collaborative practice.  

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.
  8. Assimilate evidence based interprofessional collaborative practice.

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 University of Southern Indiana designates this activity for 40 contact hours with 6 contact hours related to pharmacotherapeutics for nurses.  Six hours of this content meets the pharmacology continuing education requirements for the renewal of the advanced practice registered nurse prescriptive authority license.

The University of Southern Indiana Center for Health Professions Lifelong Learning designates this knowledge based Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) activity for 40 contact hours for completion of this program. Pharmacists who request to have their contact hours reported to the Certified Pharmacy Education Monitor (CPE) must indicate this request during registration and include the correct NABP e-PID# and Birthdate (mmdd).

The University of Southern Indiana Center for Health Professions Lifelong Learning designates this activity for a maximum of 40.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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 contact hours of which 6 hours are specific to Pharmacology.  

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 via a designated professional organization is an additional step 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 certificate of completion will be sent via email immediately upon the completion of the program evaluation.

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

Holly Jahn, PharmD, CACP                                                                                                                             Laura Stewart, FNP-BC
M. Jane Swartz DNP, RN, ACNS-BC

Conflict of Interest Statement
No individual in a position to control content has any relevant financial relationships.

Accreditation Statements

In support of improving patient care, University of Southern Indiana Center for Health Professions Lifelong Learning is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

State of Indiana
The University of Southern Indiana is an approved provider of continuing education for several professionals licensed in the state of Indiana, including social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and dental professionals.

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

Contact Dr. M. Jane Swartz


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