University of Calgary

The Pain Diaries

UToday HomeDecember 17, 2012

By Karen Cook

Eloise Carr’s research interest goes beyond pain management and into knowledge translation. Photo by Riley BrandtEloise Carr’s research interest goes beyond pain management and into knowledge translation. Eloise Carr (right), Deborah Nicholson (left). Photo by Riley BrandtA Faculty of Nursing professor will soon be moonlighting as a scientist/producer on Calgary writer Deborah Nicholson’s The Pain Diaries, a film based on her 2010 play of the same name.

Eloise Carr, a nurse researcher with particular interest in barriers to effective pain management and knowledge translation (KT) related to pain management, is interested in creative approaches to pain education — approaches that will enable health professionals to make a real difference to practice.

“I teach pain management to students,” says Carr. “I try to be passionate when I teach, but sometimes you can’t get across the experience of what it is like to endure constant pain.”

Carr’s long-standing professional partnership with Chris Spanswick of the Calgary Chronic Pain Centre became more formalized when she joined the University of Calgary as a professor in the Faculty of Nursing in 2011.

“I heard about the play from Chris and tracked Deb down to see if there was a video,” recalls Carr.

Deborah Nicholson is a medical transcriptionist who wrote The Pain Diaries after sitting in on a focus group where patients shared their pain experiences.

“Their stories literally haunted me for days and days,” says Nicholson. “I knew I had to write about it.”

Nicholson stresses the importance of Carr’s involvement as part of the film’s team. “Medical professionals were an integral part of the team for the play and will be for the film as well,” says Nicholson. “Eloise’s interest goes beyond just pain management into knowledge translation: that is a huge message for viewers of this film.”

The Pain Diaries follows the story of Issy, a teacher, mother and wife, whose life is dramatically changed when chronic pain strikes and Issy must learn to adapt to her new reality. The play invites you “to laugh until it hurts,” a concept Carr says attracted her to the film project and her KT research.

“A film can make a difference — movies can take you into someone else’s life — and I’d like to see that moved into practice,” Carr explains, adding that she is leading a research project to evaluate the film on the knowledge and attitudes of health professionals, along with Molly Courtenay from the University of Davis in California, and professor Kate Seers from Warwick University in the United Kingdom.

Nicholson is trying to raise $100,000 to begin production on the film, and is offering multiple ways to donate to the project. Please visit the international Crowdfunding site Indiegogo to donate or for more information.