An Educational Strategy for Treating Chronic, Noncancer Pain With Opioids: A Pilot Test


      Chronic pain is common and can be devastating to the patient and challenging to the health care provider. Despite the importance of the topic, pain management curricula are incomplete in health professionals' training. We developed a longitudinal curriculum to teach therapy for chronic noncancer pain over four units and pilot-tested the teaching of one unit (opioids) to internal medicine residents. The educational strategies we used included didactic sessions, write-up of a management plan following a model, case discussions, and role-play group activities. We pilot-tested one unit (opioid therapy) in March 2008. We performed learner evaluations, using a pretest and posttest, a write-up plan following a model, and a learner knowledge questionnaire. Results showed significant improvement in knowledge. Residents found the sessions and educational strategy to be excellent and reported higher confidence levels in managing patients with chronic noncancer pain.


      This article demonstrates that multiple teaching modalities—including didactic lectures, case discussions, write-up of a management plan following a model, and role-play group activities—are effective methods of teaching internal medicine residents how to use opioids to manage chronic noncancer pain.

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