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Issue Background

Clinician Pain Education

SPPAN Position

SPPAN believes that good pain management education for all healthcare providers is a necessary foundation for people with pain to obtain good pain care. This education needs to start in professional schools and continue throughout the provider’s lifetime; it needs to be substantial in amount, current in content, and effective in delivery; and it needs to cover all aspects of pain care: pharmacological, procedural, and non-pharmacological. People with pain will be able to avail themselves of high-quality, effective, integrative pain care only when a well-trained workforce is in place. We support policies that encourage educators to provide this kind of education, and providers to seek it.

To begin working through this challenging high priority issue, SPPAN's leadership convened an ad-hoc group in 2014.  This group of both policy and education experts has been working to reach consensus on some specific ways we can address policy that involves clinician pain education.  The deliverable from this group will be a new position statement that will be posted on SPPAN’s website in early 2015.

Background

The 2011 Institute of Medicine report on chronic pain in America documented what many in the pain management community have known for a long time: pain management education of healthcare providers is woefully lacking. Content in professional schools is severely limited, averaging less than 10 hours in 4 years of medical school; in post-graduate training, exposure is extremely variable, depending on the specialty and the setting; and while continuing education providers offer substantial amounts of education, few providers avail themselves of it to a significant extent, and there are concerns about how effective it might be.

Read about the new findings from New Mexico showing that  mandatory education, as a key component of a comprehensive plan, leads to improved outcomes.  Peer-reviewed article: Government, Law, and Public Health Practice, Katzman et al., Rules and Values: A Coordinated Regulatory and Educational Approach to the Public Health Crises of Chronic Pain and Addiction.

People with pain will be able to avail themselves of high-quality, effective, integrative pain care only when a well-trained workforce is in place.Clinician education in pain management needs to be readily available and demonstrated to be effective at producing practice improvement.