Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Bonnie Stevens


“With what we have learned from research on pain assessment and management, it is no longer tolerable to let children and infants suffer from needless pain and its consequences.”

Dr. Bonnie Stevens focuses her research on the assessment and management of pain in hospitalized preterm newborn infants, and the effectiveness of knowledge translation (KT) strategies for changing clinical outcomes. She is the Principal Investigator of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grant (2016-2023) that focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of a web-based 7 step resource for changing health care professional pain practices. She will be conducting a large international trial to determine the effectiveness of this resource in improving child outcomes.

Dr. Stevens held the inaugural Signy Hildur Eaton Chair in Paediatric Nursing Research, the first paediatric nursing research chair based in Canada until 2015. She was also the first nurse to be awarded the CIHR KT Prize in 2014.

At U of T Nursing, Dr. Stevens teaches the Theories of Pain Course and the Implementation Science Course. She is also a Professor in the U of T’s Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry and the Director of the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain. At the Hospital for Sick Children, she is the Associate Chief of Nursing Research, CoDirector of the Pain Centre, and a Senior Scientist in the Research Institute.

  • Academic Credentials
    1993 – PhD, McGill University, Montreal
    1983 – MScN, University of Toronto
    1974 – BScN, McMaster University, Hamilton
  • Publications
    Dr. Stevens's PubMed link is available here.

PhD Students / Trainees

Geraldine Coburn

Pain Assessment and Management for Children with Multiple Injuries

There is a paucity of research on how pain for children with multiple traumatic injuries is treated. To address this oversight, Gerry Coburn will conduct a retrospective chart audit looking for evidence of pain assessment and management practices in the pre-hospital and emergency department settings for this patient population. Additionally, interviews with children who have endured such a traumatic event as well as health care providers who provide care to them will be done with the aim of informing and developing pain interventions.

Grace Lee

Institutional Ethnography to Explore Current Infant Pain Management in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs)

Despite strong evidence suggesting the effectiveness and safety of pain management strategies, pain remains under-prioritized and undertreated in NICUs. To date, no studies illustrate how RNs’ local sequences of work (e.g., sucrose practice) and textually mediated discourse (e.g., unit policy) are influenced by the extra-local social relations (e.g., hospital accreditation). Grace Lee’s study aims to examine RNs’ current pain-management practices in the NICU and explore how local and extra-local forces may influence pain-management practices.

O’Brien Kyololo

The Feasibility and Acceptability of Kangaroo Care (KC) and Facilitated Tucking (FT) as Neonatal Pain Management Strategies in Special Care Nurseries in Kenya

Optimal neonatal pain management in developing countries is often hampered by a lack of resources to procure analgesic drugs. The aim of O’Brien Kyololo’s project is to determine the feasibility in Kenya of using inexpensive, effective and safe mother-driven pain-management interventions in infants undergoing painful procedures. Additionally, Kyololo intends to determine the acceptability of KC and FT to parents and health care professionals in Kenyan settings.

Yulia Pchelina

Toward a Greater Understanding of the Way Newborns may be Experiencing Pain: When is it Best to Provide Comfort?

Yulia Pchelina plans to conduct intervention-driven research that leads to a greater understanding of pain perception in newborns and when to best provide comfort. Given that newborns are nonverbal and that pain experiences in infancy have long-term implications to the neurological development and pain experience later in life (Anand & Scalzo, 2000; Taddio & Katz, 2005), her goal is to empower clinicians to prevent pain perception in newborns. By furthering the understanding of the way newborns experience pain, she hopes that change will be affected at the institutional level and the consequential policies mandate proper management of pain rather than leaving it to the health provider’s discretion.


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