Consensus-Based Recommendations for an Emergency Medicine Pain Management Curriculum



      Increased prescribing of opioid pain medications has paralleled the subsequent rise of prescription medication–related overdoses and deaths. We sought to define key aspects of a pain management curriculum for emergency medicine (EM) residents that achieve the balance between adequate pain control, limiting side effects, and not contributing to the current public health opioid crisis.


      We convened a symposium to discuss pain management education in EM and define the needs and objectives of an EM-specific pain management curriculum. Multiple pertinent topics were identified a priori and presented before consensus work. Subgroups then sought to define perceived gaps and needs, to set a future direction for development of a focused curriculum, and to prioritize the research needed to evaluate and measure the impact of a new curriculum.


      The group determined that an EM pain management curriculum should include education on both opioid and nonopioid analgesics as well as nonpharmacologic pain strategies. A broad survey is needed to better define current knowledge gaps and needs. To optimize the impact of any curriculum, a modular, multimodal, and primarily case-based approach linked to achieving milestones is best. Subsequent research should focus on the impact of curricular reform on learner knowledge and patient outcomes, not just prescribing changes.


      This consensus group offers a path forward to enhance the evidence, knowledge, and practice transformation needed to improve emergency analgesia.


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