Introduction: Exposure to pain management curriculum in medical school is currently variable. This paper reports on formal prescribing education, self-perceived prescribing readiness, and prescribing practices among incoming surgical residents before and after a pain management training session.
Methods: Pre-residency survey of thirty surgical interns at a single urban medical center, followed by a repeat survey after an educational session on prescription writing and opioid abuse.
Results: Thirty-three percent of respondents had formal education on prescription writing in medical school. Median subjective preparedness to write an opioid prescription was 1.5 (range 1-10) on a 1-10 Likert scale. Ranges of morphine milligram equivalents (MME) prescribed varied from 420-2700 MME for 8 mock surgical scenarios. Post-training, median subjective preparedness increased to 3.5 (range 1-6) and prescription accuracy (the inclusion of a medication, dose, frequency, and duration) improved from 75% to 97% (p < 0.001). Overall, 90% of interns found the training session useful.
Conclusion: Most surgical interns were not trained in prescribing narcotics in medical school. Improved pain management curriculum is necessary to assure safe and consistent opioid prescriptions.
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