Twenty-five years of pain education research—what have we learned? Findings from a comprehensive scoping review of research into pre-registration pain education for health professionals

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Abstract

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) has designated 2018 as the global year for excellence in pain education. Despite advances in pain research, there remains an inadequate understanding and implementation of pain education that health professionals obtain in training before professional registration, licensure, or certification. This article reports on a synthesis of pain education research that has been conducted in this period of health professionals' training. A scoping review framework by Arksey and O'Malley was used to guide a search of medical and education databases for records that have examined or evaluated pain education. Fifty-six reports were identified representing 16 professions across 29 countries, published between 1992 and 2017. A descriptive account of the reports is provided, which includes a timeline, geography, methods of evaluating, and main purpose of the research. A narrative synthesis was undertaken to summarise and explain the results and main findings from reports of studies included in this review. Further to this, a concept analysis was conducted to identify and map key concepts that can be used by stakeholders to develop or evaluate future pain education. Future directions for research are proposed, which includes factors that are repeatedly reported to be important in advancing pain education and should underpin the campaign for environments that promote excellence in pain practice as the norm in health care.

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