Patient satisfaction with a nurse-run TENS service in an outpatient pain clinic

Huw T.O. Davies*, Iain K. Crombie, Ann Kelly, Judy Linskell, Phyllis Guild, William A. Macrae

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is now widely used in pain management, often as part of therapy received in a pain clinic. Because of the increasing demands made on pain clinics for their services, many are now thinking of new ways of delivering care. In the UK, nurses are increasingly being used in specialist roles, and in some pain clinics it is nurses who fit patients with TENS machines and advise on their use. This study examined patient satisfaction with a nurse-run service for fitting TENS machines in a Scottish outpatient pain clinic. One-hundred and ninety-seven questionnaires were returned from a postal questionnaire survey (response rate 91 per cent). These showed that, 6-8 weeks after being fitted with the TENS machine, a large majority of patients were still using the machine (80 per cent), and of these 80 per cent were using TENS most days or everyday. Overall, 87 per cent said that they found the machine easy to use, although some individual problems were identified: difficulty in fitting the pads; skin rashes; mess; and the expense of batteries. Satisfaction with the nurse-run service was very high, although there were two areas where concerns were expressed: some patients would rather have seen a doctor than a nurse (5 per cent, with a further 10 per cent being unsure); and others would have liked more time during the nurse-patient consultation (12 per cent, with a further 12 per cent being unsure). Satisfaction with TENS as a therapy was also very high: almost half said that TENS was the most helpful pain treatment that they had tried; about one-third agreed that the use of TENS had enabled them to reduce their medications, see their doctor less and be more active. Even among those patients who disagreed that TENS brought practical benefits, few (just 3 per cent) would not recommend TENS to others. This study enabled pain clinic staff to identify areas for improvement in the nurse-run TENS service. It also demonstrates that having nurses deliver a TENS service as part of a pain clinic is both practical and results in high levels of patient satisfaction with that service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalPain Clinic
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997


  • Audit
  • Nurse
  • Pain clinic
  • Patient satisfaction
  • TENS


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