To address the need for increased and more effective medical education regarding chronic pain and pain management, an inter-professional (IP) training program in the form of a supervised student IP pain clinic was implemented in 2016. In the current study, we evaluated its feasibility and effectiveness in improving health care professional students’ skills in (1) managing chronic pain and (2) working in an IP team.
From January 2016 to December 2018, we assembled 12 IP teams that included students from the following six professions at the University of New England: nursing, osteopathic medicine (OM), occupational therapy (OT), pharmacy, physical therapy (PT), and social work (SW). During this 12-week training program, each team conducted the initial evaluation, generated treatment plans, and performed follow-up examinations for its assigned patient under the supervision of a pain specialist at the Mercy Pain Center. Surveys were conducted with all participating students and patients.
Overall, students showed significant improvement in knowledge regarding pain physiology and chronic pain management as well as attitude and perception regarding IP practice and perceived team skills. Specifically, prior to the program, nursing students showed the greatest pain-related knowledge and perceived team skills, while OT students scored the highest in attitude and perception regarding IP practice. Following the program, improvement in various measures was observed in all professions with PT students showing the most significant improvement in all areas. Surveys also indicated patients’ satisfaction with their IP pain clinic experience.
These results demonstrated the feasibility and the effectiveness of this IP training program for all participating professions.
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We are grateful for all the support from the UNE Interprofessional Education Collaborative, the UNE Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, the UNE Center for Excellence in Neurosciences, and the Biomedical Science Department of the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine for helping with student recruitment and providing lunches at student presentations. Special thanks are owed to the following faculty volunteers whose continued assistance made the program possible: Jessica J. Bolduc, DrOT, MSOTR/L; Kelli S. Fox, LCSW, CCS, LADC; Christopher Frothingham, DO; Matthew Lacroix, PharmD, MS, BCPS; Kin Ly, PharmD, EdD; Wallace Marsh MBA, MSE, PhD, RPh; Regi Robnett, PhD, OTR/L; Nancy Jo Ross PhD RN; Katy Rudolph, PT, PhD; Victoria Thieme, DO; Kris Winston, Ph.D., O.T.R./L. Special thanks are also owed to Dr. Woon Yuen Koh, PhD, Department of Mathematics, College of Arts and Science, UNE, for providing assistance in statistical analysis.
This work received funding from the University of New England (UNE) Center for the Enrichment of Teaching and Learning faculty mini-grant to initiate the program.
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Boards of both the University of New England (Protocol Number: 112515-014) and Mercy Hospital (Protocol Number: 135).
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Cao, L., Hull, S.Z. Effectiveness of Educating Health Care Professionals in Managing Chronic Pain Patients Through a Supervised Student Inter-professional Pain Clinic. Med.Sci.Educ. 31, 479–488 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40670-020-01189-4