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J Dent Educ. 2013 Jun;77(6):723-31.

A four-tier problem-solving scaffold to teach pain management in dental school.

Author information

1
Department of Bioscience Research, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA. civanoff@uthsc.edu

Abstract

Pain constitutes a major reason patients pursue dental treatment. This article presents a novel curriculum to provide dental students comprehensive training in the management of pain. The curriculum's four-tier scaffold combines traditional and problem-based learning to improve students' diagnostic, pharmacotherapeutic, and assessment skills to optimize decision making when treating pain. Tier 1 provides underpinning knowledge of pain mechanisms with traditional and contextualized instruction by integrating clinical correlations and studying worked cases that stimulate clinical thinking. Tier 2 develops critical decision making skills through self-directed learning and actively solving problem-based cases. Tier 3 exposes students to management approaches taken in allied health fields and cultivates interdisciplinary communication skills. Tier 4 provides a "knowledge and experience synthesis" by rotating students through community pain clinics to practice their assessment skills. This combined teaching approach aims to increase critical thinking and problem-solving skills to assist dental graduates in better management of pain throughout their careers. Dental curricula that have moved to comprehensive care/private practice models are well-suited for this educational approach. The goal of this article is to encourage dental schools to integrate pain management into their curricula, to develop pain management curriculum resources for dental students, and to provide leadership for change in pain management education.

KEYWORDS:

clinical curriculum; clinical education; critical thinking; dental education; pain management; problem-solving

PMID:
23740909
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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