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Pain medicine as a cross-sectional subject in German medical schools. An opportunity for general pain management

Pain medicine as a cross-sectional subject in German medical schools. An opportunity for general pain management

Schmerz 28(4): 405-413

Unrelieved pain is a substantial public health concern owing in part to deficits in clinical expertise among physicians. In most medical faculties worldwide, teaching on pain and pain management is either nonexistent or limited to a small number of students attending voluntary courses. In light of the fact that pain is the most frequent reason to seek medical advice, the lack of formal training of pain medicine is considered the leading reason for inadequate pain management. Therefore, the patients' unmet needs for adequate diagnosis and therapy call for action. Pain assessment and effective pain management should be a priority in the health care system. The limited number of pain specialists available in hospitals and primary care and CME (continuous medical education) activities focusing on pain are not sufficient to solve the problem. Every practicing physician should, therefore, have basic knowledge of the most prominent painful conditions and management strategies. To achieve this goal, pain medicine should become an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum for medical students. In Germany, pain medicine became a mandatory subject in undergraduate medical studies in 2012. The introduction of pain medicine into the undergraduate curriculum in Germany is a major challenge regarding the development and implementation processes. This article describes current instruments and implementation strategies for pain medicine as a new cross-sectional subject in Germany.

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Accession: 054847084

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PMID: 24939241

DOI: 10.1007/s00482-014-1433-3

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