Qualitative Assessment of Clerkship Students' Perspectives of the Topics of Pain and Addiction in their Preclinical Curriculum
A majority of physicians feel poorly trained in the treatment of chronic pain and addiction. As such, it is critical that medical students receive appropriate education in both pain management and addiction. The purpose of this study was to assess the pre-clinical curriculum in pain medicine and addiction from the perspective of students after they had completed their pre-clinical training and to assess what they perceived as the strengths and weaknesses of their training.The authors conducted focused interviews among clinical medical students who had completed at least 6 months of clerkships. The interviews targeted the students' retrospective opinions about the pre-clinical curriculum and their preparedness for clinical encounters with either pain or addiction-related issues during their rotations. Coders thematically analyzed the de-identified interview transcripts, with consensus reached through discussion and code modification.Themes that emerged through the focused interviews included: fragmented curricular structure (and insufficient time) for pain and addiction medicine, not enough specific treatment strategies for pain or addiction, especially for complex clinical scenarios, and lack of a trained work-force to provide guidance in the management of pain and addiction.This study demonstrated the feasibility of gathering student perspectives to inform changes to improve the pre-clinical curriculum in pain and addiction medicine. Students identified multiple areas for improvement at the pre-clerkship level, which have informed updates to the curriculum. More research is needed to determine if curricular changes based on student feedback lead to improved learning outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s40596-018-0927-1