NPR: How medical schools are teaching pain amid the opioid crisis

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

Most medical schools teach just nine hours of formalized pain education, according to Shravani Durbhakula, MD, a pain management specialist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. 

Dr. Durbhakula told NPR most of her education on pain was learned along the way. Now Dr. Durbhakula is changing that four medical students at Johns Hopkins, where she is director of a four-day mandatory course on pain.

Johns Hopkins is fairly unique in offering a pain-focused course, according to NPR. However, amid the opioid crisis, the class teaches students about what pain is — a physical and emotional experience, subject to mood, sensitivity and cultural expectations. It also teaches students how to discuss pain with patients effectively, according to the report.    

Students interviewed by NPR were wary of the course given the nation's current struggle with opioid addiction. The course also addresses how opioids fit into pain management strategies. 

Read more about Johns Hopkins' pain course here


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