Each March, approximately 1,200 students from health disciplines across the University of Toronto including medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and physician assistants take part in an educational series — though large-group and small-group learning sessions — related to current research and understanding of pain, and clinical practice in pain management. This three-day interfaculty pain curriculum (IPC) is developed and delivered by the U of T Centre for the Study of Pain (UTCSP), a group of scholars, educators and clinicians from the Faculties of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy.

Using cases based on typical patients, students complete comprehensive assessments of multiple factors that contribute to the pain experience. They practice developing pain care plans, describe multi-professional and interprofessional strategies for collaborative pain practice, and consider ethical, legal, social, and political issues that may impact on patients’ pain outcomes. The individual faculties also provide discipline-specific content to their students during a 3 hour session, embedded within the three-day curriculum.

These learning objectives are underlined by the IPC’s Guiding Principles in the Assessment and Management of Pain. Namely, that:

  • Patients have the right to assessment and management of their pain.
  • Pain assessment is crucial toward understanding and managing patients’ pain.
  • Health care professionals have an obligation to assess, understand, and manage patients’ pain.

By the end of the three-day series, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the biopsychosocial basis of pain and its impact on people living with pain and their communities
  2. Apply clinical assessment and measurement tools used to evaluate the pain experience and treatment outcomes
  3. Describe common misconceptions in pain management
  4. Describe multiprofessional and interprofessional management strategies for the planning, treatment, and monitoring of pain in a patient-centered context
  5. Formulate, as part of an interprofessional student team, a comprehensive patient-centered pain assessment and management plan based on authentic patient cases
  6. Explain how ethical, cultural, social, and political aspects can contribute to poor pain assessment and management
  7. Discuss the role of the person in pain as a member of the interprofessional team.

Questions about the IPC or its oversight?

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