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Pain Research and Management
Volume 8, Issue 3, Pages 137-142
Original Article

Does Participation in a Pain Course Based on the International Association for the Study of Pain’s Curricula Guidelines Change Student Knowledge about Pain?

Jenny Strong, Pamela Meredith, Ross Darnell, Marlene Chong, and Patricia Roche

School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: The People in Pain course was set up as a joint initiative of the Departments of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of Queensland. It was instigated in response to the publication of Pain Curricula for Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) in 1994 (1). The first year it was offered, the 'People in Pain' course comprised 14 h of lecture content. It was then expanded to encompass 28 h of lectures and seminar involvement.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of participation in a university pain course that meets the IASP pain curricula guidelines to increase health professional students' knowledge about pain.

METHODS: Students who participated in the People in Pain course over the first three years were invited to complete the Revised Pain Knowledge and Attitudes Questionnaire (R-PKAQ) pre- and postcourse. Data obtained from 22 students in the short course formed a pilot project, and data from 22 students in the longer version of the course were used in the present study.

RESULTS: Examination of the correlation matrix indicated substantial correlations between all R-PKAQ subscales except physiological basis of pain and pharmacological management of pain. In both the pilot project during the first year of the course and the expanded course in the following two years, significant improvement was found in the students' knowledge on five of the six subscales of the R-PKAQ: physiological basis of pain, psychological factors of pain perception, assessment and measurement of pain, cognitive-behavioural methods of pain relief, and pharmacological management of pain. Improvements in the developmental aspects of pain perception subscale failed to reach significance.

CONCLUSIONS: An integrated pain course developed according to the pain curriculum guidelines developed by the IASP resulted in increased student knowledge regardless of the length of the program attended.