Educating Third-Year Students on Opioid Use Disorder, Pain Management

July 12, 2022
Kevin Kunzmann

An Ohio State researcher discusses a new medical center education program for navigating addiction risk in pain patients.

A new program from the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University provides specific education to third-year medical students on managing a patient with opioid use disorder.

A team of investigators from Ohio State conducted research into the success of a new in-clinic education system that provides more insights into factors of opioid use disorder care including acute and chronic pain cases, buprenorphine treatment, and navigating specific addiction risk factors. What they found is their new program is significantly beneficial to medical students interacting with patients for the first time.

In an interview with HCPLive, study author Kimberly Hu, MD, a psychiatry resident at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, discussed the motivation for launching a more immersive opioid use disorder program for incoming medical school interns. “Having this knowledge early, and having some confidence and understanding about opioid use disorder we thought would be helpful for our students,” Hu explained.

Hu also discussed the significance of timing with this program, which coincides with third-year students’ first opportunity at real-world patient management—while having to also navigate numerous specialty rounds.

“If a patient’s coming in and they’re having chronic pain and they’re saying they’re continuing to experience pain symptoms even though they’re on opioid medications, that they feel they need more of those medications, it’s helpful for students to have an understanding of what is concerning for addiction, how do they ask questions, and what type of questions to be asking,” Hu said.

Hu additionally reviewed the various factors and key points of the program, and well as the emphasis on discussing each caregiver team role in opioid use disorder cases. She stressed the impact such a more comprehensive program could provide upcoming physicians.

“When you’re trying to take that book knowledge and transfer it into real-life patient interactions, you can sometimes lose sight of the patient in front of you.”


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