Prescriber Toolkit

Prescribers, pharmacists, and other health care professionals often interact with patients who are experiencing pain. This toolkit is designed to assist you in having productive conversations with patients about the Texas PMP and the safe and effective alleviation of pain.

Guidelines & Talking Points

The Basics

Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, social workers, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals often interact with patients who are experiencing pain. The guidelines and talking points below are designed to help you make these conversations effective and satisfying for everyone.

Invite participation

Invite participation by explicitly encouraging patients to respond. Asking questions like, “How does that sound to you?” before or after providing information to patients can help establish a trusting relationship. In addition, this helps providers collect information from patients.

Use motivational interviewing techniques

Use motivational interviewing techniques to encourage patients to share their stories, allowing them to explore their own circumstances and options with professional or clinical guidance. Asking open-ended questions can help identify psychosocial factors that are contributing to patient experiences of pain. Treating co-occurring psychological disorders can decrease a patient’s pain.

Use positive language

Use positive language like, “Sometimes we struggle to know exactly what causes this problem, but I can tell you that I will make my best effort to help you get comfortable” instead of, “I don’t know what’s wrong.” Avoid using negatives (e.g., “no” “not” “nothing” “never”).

Distill the information

Distill the information that patients have shared, and then keep listening. Distilling complex reflections during the interaction and leaving space for patients to interject facilitates accurate shared understanding.

Affirm resilience

Affirm resilience by offering encouraging responses when patients disclose positive coping strategies. It’s important to identify, name, and celebrate positive coping strategies so that people can maintain hope and realize they can cope with pain and other stressors.

If possible

If possible, offer immediate naloxone and overdose prevention counseling when you have concerns about a patient’s substance use. Having a behavioral health specialist on staff can help.

Getting to Know Patient Rx History

The PMP allows prescribers and pharmacists to gain in-depth insight into patient prescription histories and to initiate productive conversations about safe and effective alleviation of pain.