Irene is a thirty-three year old married woman, who has two young children aged six months and five years. She has recently been attending the surgical outpatients clinic for investigation of a lump in her right breast. During her appointments at the clinic, Irene has expressed anxiety regarding the outcome of the lump on her breast. She is therefore later diagnosed with breast cancer and has been admitted to the breast surgery ward to receive treatment for her cancer. It has been arranged that Irene is to have surgery involving a wide local incision to remove the breast lump and any surrounding malignant tissue as well as an auxillary clearance (lymph node dissection) (Tschudin, 1996). However, Irene expresses concern at this time that her surgery will cause her arm to swell (lymphoedema) and this will affect her interaction with her baby. Therefore as the nurse responsible for Irene's care, a care plan of actual and potential postoperative complications of this surgery has been devised, this will include possible nursing interventions that would be implemented for Irene.
However this assignment will concentrate on two postoperative problems that are of priority. These are pain and discomfort, which are associated with this type of surgery (Tschudin, 1996) and lymphoedema, which Irene has expressed personal concern about. These problems will now be addressed.
Pain is defined as an unpleasant subjective sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage (ISAP, 1979).
According to Logan (1995) pain and discomfort are actual postoperative problems that Irene will experience as a result of her breast cancer surgery, therefore management of her pain is of one high priority (Mallett & Dougherty, 2000).
According to Alexander et al (1994) pain can be described as acute or chronic in nature and...