Thursday, January 17, 2008

Painless curriculum

Canadian survey reports Veterinary Medicine grads received more designated hours on training and education in pain than other Health Sciences students, including grads in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy.

My first thought was along the lines of "this must be because pet owners expect (and demand) more options in pain management for their pets." Perhaps, we have a lot more to learn from veterinary medicine and veterinary medical systems than just the mechanism of diseases in animal models. What is good for the goose should be good for the goose-farmer.

The survey report answers some questions you should have at this point. The average of 87 hours of formally designated pain content in the veterinary curriculum was based on data provided by 3 schools, one of which reported 200 hours. This skewed the mean considerably in favor of vet schools. (However, compare this with the maximum reported hours of 24 and 38 for the disciplines of dentistry and medicine, respectively). Figure 1 in the report details the extent of integrated content across several courses and/or clinical conferences. Fifty-four percent of the (non-veterinary) respondents reported pain content was integrated into several general courses. All respondents indicated pain content is mandatory. So breathe deeply, people. All is not left to chance, although as the study investigators indicate human health professional students could be introduced to more structured pain in their curriculum.

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