Treatment for acute pain has consistently been documented as inadequate. To change this, one proposed strategy is targeted education for medical students. A team of researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark has found that repeated and multifaceted interventions are needed to transform knowledge into better handling of patients with acute pain.
By Lone Nikolajsen
To address the issue of treatment for acute pain, a team from Aarhus University Hospital decided to investigate what the best learning method for medical students would be. They conducted a study including 217 medical students who were randomly divided into one control group and two intervention groups.
The first intervention group took part in a 45-minute long interactive, case-based, e-learning program, which included an introduction to important aspects of pain and pain treatment as well as four patient cases. The second intervention group received a combination of the e-learning program and simulation-based training with a simulation instructor, also lasting 45 minutes.
All students in the three groups completed a multiple-choice questionnaire twice, with an interval of approximately one week. During this one-week interval, the students in the two intervention groups completed their e-learning and their combined e-learning and simulation training, respectively.
The results, published in a recent article in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, showed no significant difference in the three groups’ answers in the first multiple-choice questionnaire. However, there was a significant improvement in the level of knowledge and confidence in the two intervention groups when completing the second multiple-choice questionnaire following their training.
Each correct answer was given a 5-point score, yielding a maximum score of 100 points. Results in the control group were a median test score of 45 in the first questionnaire and 50 in the second. In comparison, the results in the two intervention groups jumped from 50 to 75 for the e-learning group and from 50 to 80 for the combined training group.
Before the educational interventions, only 12 out of 210 students answered that they were satisfied with the existing educational program for acute pain management at the Medical School. The study shows that an educational intervention increases the knowledge and level of confidence in acute pain management among medical students.
“Further studies are needed to show if the increased knowledge is retained over time and whether it is transferred into clinical practice for the benefit of patients” the research team points out.
Read the original article here:
Mette Poulsen, Kristian Dahl Friesgaard, Sophie Seidenfaden, Charlotte Paltved, Lone Nikolajsen: Educational interventions to improve medical students’ knowledge of acute pain management: a randomized study, 29.04.2019.