Med Educ Online. 2023 Dec;28(1):2141602. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2022.2141602.
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: In 2021, the USA recorded 100,000 annual deaths from drug overdose, representing the most frequent cause of death in adults under age 55. The integration of care for substance use disorders (SUDs) into undergraduate medical education is not well established. It is unclear whether a short course on management of opioid use disorder (OUD) offered to fourth year medical students could increase graduating students’ knowledge and preparedness to treat these disorders.
METHODS: We designed a 2-hour interactive case-based session on patient care for OUD and delivered it virtually as part of a Transition to Residency course. A retrospective pre-/post-test assessment instrument determined the impact of this session on students’ perceived knowledge, confidence, and intention to seek further educational opportunities for OUD.
RESULTS: Of 144 participants, 58 students (40.3%) completed the retrospective pre-/post- survey. There were statistically significant improvements in perceived knowledge and attitudes on the 12-item survey. The largest gains in perceived knowledge on a 5-point scale occurred in the categories regarding buprenorphine induction (pre 2.9; post 4.22; p < 0.001), managing inpatient opioid withdrawal (pre 2.84; post 4.27; p < 0.001), and the role of methadone in treating withdrawal (pre 3.16; post 4.29; p < 0.001). All (n = 58) survey respondents would recommend the training to a colleague and felt that the session would benefit their professional practice. Over 90% (93.1%) of respondents planned on seeking additional SUD learning opportunities during residency.
CONCLUSIONS: A 2-hour interactive case-based teaching session delivered to medical students improved perceived knowledge, attitudes, and future interest in obtaining education around OUD. As the opioid epidemic shows no sign of abating, we would advocate for the inclusion SUD education as part of Transition to Residency courses.