Pain and palliative care: the knowledge of medical students and the graduation gaps

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Currently, the medical course does not provide complete education and handling of pain, and it is also devoid of disciplines addressing thanatology in palliative care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the knowledge about pain and palliative care of medical students and their perception on how these themes are taught the graduation course. METHODS: We invited to participate in the survey students of the medical school who are concluding the fourth, fifth and sixth year of graduation at the Federal University of Health Science of Porto Alegre. The demographic and characterization data of the sample were collected, and a questionnaire was applied and validated with 19 direct questions about pain and palliative care. RESULTS: Forty-seven students agreed to participate in the study. The vast majority mentioned not receiving enough information during the undergraduate program about the proper handling of patients with pain, and patient care in a terminal situation. CONCLUSION: This study highlights education gaps on pain and palliative care in medical schools. It shows the difficulties of the students have to put the theoretical knowledge into practice, for example, their insecurity in handling pain, especially when it comes to the use of opioids.