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Nurse education

Do we need to rethink how we educate healthcare professionals about pain management?

30 Apr, 17 | by atwycross

Do we need to rethink how we educate healthcare professionals about pain management?

This week’s EBN Twitter Chat on Wednesday 3rd May between 8-9 pm (UK time) is taking place live from the British Pain Society’s (@BritishPainSoc) Annual Scientific Meeting in Birmingham. The chat will focus on whether we need to rethink how we educate healthcare professionals about pain management. The Twitter Chat will be hosted by Dr Ameila Swift (@nurseswift) and Professor Alison Twycross (@alitwy). This Blog provides some context for the Chat.

Participating in the Twitter Chat

Participating in the chat requires a Twitter account; if you do not have one you can create an account at www.twitter.com. You can contribute to the chat by sending tweets with #ebnjc included within them.

Current approach to pain education

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) have published curricula for pre-registration training for healthcare professionals (see: http://www.iasp-pain.org/Education/CurriculaList.aspx?navItemNumber=647). These consist of lists of topics specifying the knowledge students need to obtain about pain management during pre-registration courses. This reflects the traditional approach to curriculum design where learning outcomes focus on theoretical knowledge and pay little attention to application in practice. Indeed, research in this area has tended to focus on knowledge and curricula deficits (Briggs et al. 2011, Twycross & Roderique 2013). As patients of all ages continue to experience unnecessary unrelieved pain (Twycross & Finley 2013; Meissner et al. 2015) there is a need to explore ways of ensuring knowledge is used in practice. This is timely because the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) has named 2018 the Global Year for Excellence in Pain Education (see: http://www.iasp-pain.org/GlobalYear).

Is part of the problem the way we evaluate the education provided?A literature review of research into pain education, conducted for this blog, suggests the impact of educational interventions does not look beyond three months with most studies only assessing pre- and post-intervention knowledge gain. Students and junior staff feel powerless and might ‘shy away from their incompetence’ in treating patients when management is not straightforward (Tellier et al. 2013), demonstrating the gap between increased knowledge and increased competence.

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