Postoperative pain management education during the surgery core rotation at McMaster University, Waterloo Regional Campus.
Background: Opioid over-prescription continues to be a challenge in the postoperative setting for management of acute pain. Initiatives have been developed to standardize postoperative opioid prescribing with an emphasis on multimodal pain management. However, there is a concern medical education has not remained current on this topic.
Objective: The aim of this study is to explore current teaching around postoperative pain management during the surgery core rotation at McMaster University, Waterloo Regional Campus (WRC), and identify any opportunities for improvement.
Methods: A 13-item survey was developed to determine effectiveness of teaching around postoperative pain management during the surgery core and its alignment with current guidelines. The survey was disseminated to third year medical students at the WRC.
Results: Seven of nine respondents indicated that teaching on postoperative pain management and opioid reduction strategies was provided during the surgery core. All respondents receiving this teaching also indicated learning about a multimodal pain control approach consistent with current guidelines. However, only three of seven respondents noted receiving teaching on providing patient and caregiver education around the pain management plan, despite a strong recommendation in guidelines in favour of this practice.
Conclusions: Most students receive teaching on multimodal postoperative pain management and opioid reduction strategies during the surgery core at the WRC. Opportunities to strengthen the teaching include addressing the role of patient and caregiver education in the pain management plan as well as incorporating the topic into formal teaching such as classroom sessions or learning objectives in the surgery core.
Keywords: postoperative; opioids; multimodal pain management; medical education; surgery