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European Diploma in Pain Nursing




The European Pain Federation is organising its first Examination for the European Diploma in Pain Nursing (EDPN) in 2024:


  • Date: 24 May 2024, 08.30 –16.30 UK time  
  • Location: Royal College of Anaesthetists, Churchill House, Red Lion Square London WC21R 4SG
  • 20 spots available on a first come, first served basis


Key dates

  • Deadline for applications: 31 March 2024, 17.00 CET – Registration is now closed.
  • Deadline for case submissions: 30 April 2024
  • Examination: 24 May 2024
  • Results confirmed: mid-June 2024
  • Award ceremony: EFIC Congress – Pain in Europe XIV, 24-26 April 2025


The purpose of the EDPN is to improve the standard of pain nursing through the provision of a qualification for nurses that tests their broad understanding of all types of pain, including pain recognition, assessment, treatment, and evaluation. 

The EDPN is not designed to replace national qualifications, but to establish a harmonised understanding of specialist pain management nursing across Europe through a qualification open to all European nurses, as well as nurses from outside of Europe, and to provide a qualification in those countries where a national equivalent does not exist. 


The content of the Examination is based upon the European Pain Federation EFIC® Core Curriculum for the European Diploma in Nursing 1 (‘the Curriculum’) and selected accompanying learning materials. 

Target audience 

The EDPN is open to all nurses with equivalent to a Level 5/6 qualification on the European Qualifications Framework 2 who see and manage pain. Appropriate clinical experience of at least three years in pain nursing is essential and will need to be documented. Candidates working in inter/multidisciplinary pain teams (inter/multidisciplinary pain centres, inter/multidisciplinary acute pain teams or multidisciplinary pain clinics) are ideal candidates, though the qualification is open to all nurses with an interest in pain and its management. 


  • To articulate the scope of practice required by a Pain Nurse including that which is necessary for effective, quality patient-centred care. 
  • To outline the breadth and depth of knowledge, range of skills and professional behaviours required to ensure effective patient-centred pain management. 
  • To provide consistency of standards and outcomes across different countries in Europe, through the establishment of a benchmark of standard competency. 


The Examination will take place in two parts on a single day: 

  • Part 1 – a multiple-choice question (MCQ) examination (75 minutes, 40%)
  • Part 2 – a viva examination – 10% written case pro case (2 cases are necessary), case study reports (30 minutes), 40% viva
  • The pass mark for the examination is 70% in total combining the scores from Parts 1 and 2.


EFIC shall aim to offer one full examination sitting per year. Parts 1 and 2 will take place in one sitting in-person.  

Reasons to undertake the EDPN

This European Diploma in Pain Nursing aims to provide a benchmark across Europe to ensure a consistency of standards and outcomes across the pain nursing community.  

Nurses who enrol for the diploma will receive upon successful completion of the two-part examination a certificate and a badge. The nurse who is awarded the highest examination mark will be awarded the Laserina O’Connor Award (plus free registration to EFIC 20205 in Lyon).  

In the UK, if you are working as an Advanced Practitioner (pain specialist), and only have a generic qualification, this diploma will assure your colleagues and employers that you have the specialist knowledge, skills and professional behaviours. Nurses who have a postgraduate qualification in pain management can also benchmark against their peers.   

  • The MCQ examination is designed to test the participants’ knowledge of the curriculum.
  • The MCQ examination is written in English and features 50 questions.
  • Each question will be composed of a stem followed by a minimum of four statements. Examinees should identify the correct statement(s).
  • The MCQ examination is conducted in person at the venue
  • The MCQ is worth 40% of overall EDPN exam.
  • Time limit: 75 minutes


Please see MCQ examples below:



Topic: IASP Definition of Pain and Related Phenomena  

Section of Core Curriculum covered: 1.3.2 Describe terminology and definitions used in practice 

                1.    Which of the following pain types is NOT officially described in the Taxonomy of the International Association for the Study of Pain?      
  a.  Inflammatory pain   T   
  b.  Neuropathic pain    F 
  c.  Nociceptive pain    F 
  d.  Nociplastic pain    F 


Reasoning: The nurse should be able to explain the common pain and pain-related phenomena according to the International Association for the Study of Pain’s (IASP) taxonomy and describe terminology and definitions used in practice. 


References: IASP taxonomy available from 


Topic: Principles of Assessment  

Section of Core Curriculum covered: 3.2.1 Outcome measures  


Which assessment instrument is not validated for pain assessment in older people with cognitive impairment? 


  a.  PAINAD    F 
  b.  PACSLAC    F 
  c.  PAIC 15    F 
  d.  McGill Pain Questionnaire   T   


Reasoning: Pain assessment and measurement can be a complex procedure; it requires effective interpersonal skills to build a trusting relationship with the patient, an evaluation of the wide range factors affecting the pain experienced and the selection of valid and reliable measures for that individual patient. The nurse needs to demonstrate a critical selection of appropriate valid and reliable assessment and outcome measures.  


References: European Pain Federation-Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain guidelines on neuropathic pain assessment. Eur J Neurol. 2023 Aug;30(8):2177-2196. 


Schofield P, Docking R, Cox F et al (2018) The Assessment of Pain in Older People: UK National Guidelines. Age & Ageing. Mar 1;47(suppl_1):i1-i22. 







Topic: Principles of Treatment  

Section of Core Curriculum covered: 4.2.5 Alternative strategies for pain management  

3.    With reference to non-pharmacological techniques in acute pain management please choose the incorrect statement:     
  a.  Listening to music can produce a reduction in postoperative pain and opioid requirement    F 
  b.  Training in coping methods on how to deal with pain prior to surgery reduces pain, negative effect and analgesic use    F 
  c.  Auricular acupuncture significantly reduces opioid consumption in the immediate postoperative setting   T   
  d.  Immersive virtual reality distraction is effective in reducing pain in some clinical situations    F 


Reasoning: Nurses are involved in a variety of non-pharmacological or non-medicinal interventions for pain management. Critically discuss the use, evidence, efficacy and potential interactions and adverse effects of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used in the treatment of 

Pain. Nurses need to be able to critically discuss alternative strategies for pain management.  


References: Cochrane Complimentary Medicine  About us | Cochrane Complementary Medicine 



Topic: Pharmacological Interventions  

Section of Core Curriculum covered: 4.3.2 Critically discuss pharmacological treatments, potential adverse effects and indications, precautions and contraindications for use  

4.    Select the incorrect statement regarding the opioid stewardship     
  a.  After surgery, all patients should be prescribed modified-release (prolonged) opioids  T   
  b.  Opioids in the 24 hours before discharge should guide the prescription of opioids at discharge    F 
  c.  Patients should store their pain medicines at home out of sight and reach of children and animals    F 
  d.  Transdermal opioids are not indicated for postoperative pain    F 
  e.  Compound analgesics should be avoided     F 

Reasoning: Pharmacological interventions are often the first line treatment for pain and nurses play a key role in medication administration, safety, patient education, evaluating medication effectiveness and management of side effects or adverse events. Pain Nurses need a comprehensive knowledge of pharmacological interventions.   

References: Levy, N., Quinlan, J., El-Boghdadly, K., Fawcett, et al  (2021), An international multidisciplinary consensus statement on the prevention of opioid-related harm in adult surgical patients. Anaesthesia, 76: 520-536. 


Liu S, Athar A., Quach D, Patanwala AE, et al . (2023), Risks and benefits of oral modified-release compared with oral immediate-release opioid use after surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Anaesthesia, 78: 1225-1236. 






Topic: 6.1 Family and Patient Education, 4.2.4 Non-Pharmacological Interventions    

Section of Core Curriculum covered: Education, physical strategies and behavioural therapies  

5.    Select the correct statement for the self-management techniques for chronic back pain     
  a.  Exercise in back pain should be avoided because this results in more damage    F 
  b.  Transdermal opioid patches are the preferred strategy      F 
  c.  Acceptance and commitment therapy is an effective intervention   T   
  d.  Healthcare professionals are best placed to decide the best self-management strategy for patients    F 

Reasoning: Nurses are involved in a variety of non-pharmacological or non-medicinal interventions for pain management. These range from comfort/positioning and relaxation through to interventions that require additional training or qualifications. Nurses also play a central role in providing education for patients, their families and other healthcare professionals in the interprofessional team. 


References: EFIC Academy 

Drake G, de C Williams AC.(2017)  Nursing Education Interventions for Managing Acute Pain in Hospital Settings: A Systematic Review of Clinical Outcomes and Teaching Methods. Pain Management Nursing. Feb;18(1):3-15.   




  • The viva is designed to test the participants’ clinical experience, reasoning, attitude and communication skills.
  • The viva is a 30-minute oral examination in which the applicant is asked to engage in a dialogue with two independent examiners. The viva will be based on two clinical case reports submitted by the applicant, which are graded ahead of the exam. A battery of standardised questions will be asked by the examiners. Further discussion can arise from these stem questions.
  • The viva examination is worth 60% of overall EDPN exam; 50% for the viva and the case study presentation is worth 10% of the component score.
Pass mark

The Examination is composed of two parts:

  • Part 1 – a multiple-choice question (MCQ) examination (75 minutes, 40%)
  • Part 2 – a viva examination – 10% written case pro case (2 cases are necessary), case study reports (30 minutes), 40% viva


The pass mark for the examination is 70% in total combining the scores from Parts 1 and 2.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates will be accepted for participation if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Demonstrable possession of a Nursing Degree.
  • Curriculum Vitae detailing at least three years’ clinical work in which patients with pain have been assessed and treated. Clinical work during postgraduate training and fellowships in which patients with pain have been assessed and treated can be used as proof of relevant clinical experience.
  • Letter of support or endorsement from two referees. For example, a head of department, clinical director or senior colleague.
  • Endorsement letter should state that the candidate is in good standing in their country, and in their department, and is involved in seeing and managing patients with pain on a regular basis.
  • Strong working knowledge of English (oral and written).
  • Payment of fees ahead of the requested deadline.
  • Submission of all supporting documents required for vivas and any other presentations.

The confirmation of any participant’s registration is at the discretion of the Examination Committee. Participants whose registration is not accepted shall be informed in writing with a brief justification, reflecting the eligibility criteria for the Examination.

The Examination Committee shall have the right to establish a maximum number of participants for any part of the Examination at any time should the number of eligible candidates exceed the resources available for the conduct of the Examination. Candidates who are not accepted on this basis will be eligible to apply in the future, but are not automatically included on a waiting list for the subsequent Examination.


The Examination content, both written and oral, will be in English. Participants are advised that a high-level of spoken and written English is required. Translation or interpretation services are not possible for this Examination.

  • Candidates will be provided with pens and pencils. No additional materials can be taken into the Examination venues.
  • Electronic devices such as phones, tablets, computers, smart watches or similar are strictly prohibited.
  • Communication between participants during the Examination is strictly prohibited.
  • Any participant found to be breaching these rules, or to be jeopardising the fair conduct of the Examination in any other way will be excluded. Any participant found to have passed any part of the Examination through fraudulent means will have their qualification rescinded.
Appeals process

Any participant wishing to appeal should write to the Examination Committee via the European Pain Federation EFIC Secretariat within four weeks off receiving their results. Appeals will be responded to by the Examination Committee within six weeks of the initial communication of results.

Deadline for registrations is now over. We will update this page as soon as we have a confirmed date for the next EDPN exam sitting.

How to register

  • Step 1. Follow the checkout process on this website and pay the fee.  
  • Step 2. Upon registration, you will receive a follow up email with a form that you need to complete.  Please note: you will need English language copies of your curriculum vitae, current and valid nursing registration and copies of any higher degrees. You will also need two letters of support or endorsement from for example, a head of department, clinical director or senior colleague. One could also be a European Pain Federation (EFIC) Councillor or Chapter Executive Board member. The letters should state that you, the candidate is in good standing in their country, and in their department, and is involved in seeing and managing patients with pain on a regular basis.
  • Step 3. Your completed form will then be shared with the EFIC Education Committee who will decide if you meet the criteria. If your application is not successful, your fee will be refunded minus a 10% service charge. Successful candidates will be provided with details of the examination process, and preparation required, signposted to resources and advised of examination logistics.
  • Step 4. To learn about the content and format of the examination you will be invited to attend a webinar. You will receive the link to the webinar in your confirmation email.
  • Step 5. A case study reports template will be provided to all successful candidates. You will have to prepare two case studies of 1500 words in length and submit them in advance of the examination. The submission details will be provided in a separate e-mail. 


Fees are excluding VAT and non-refundable. To sit the Examination in full, a registration fee of 250 Euros is required for participation.

25% discount for #EFICAcademy members 

  • If you are already a member, you have been sent the discount code via email already. If you have not received it yet, please reach out to
  • If you are not yet a member, feel free to sign up for #EFICAcademy membership while registering for the exam at the same time; a 25% discount (before VAT) will be applied to the exam fee automatically.

Financial Aid

Please look out for future updates on whether EFIC are offering financial support for their upcoming examinations.

Travel visa

The European Pain Federation EFIC is not responsible for personal visa applications to take the exam. EFIC can assist with supporting letters, but if any candidates experiences difficulties obtaining their visa, they are liable for their own costs. In the case of a rejected visa, we will be happy to refund the exam fee (minus a 15% admin fee) if you can provide us with a confirmation 2 month’s ahead of the exam.