Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 1154 first and final year healthcare students, from 12 universities in five different countries completed the Revised Neurophysiology of Pain Quiz (RNPQ) [knowledge] and the Health Care Providers Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (HC-PAIRS) [attitudes] .
Results: Physiotherapy was the only student group with statistically and clinically improved pain related knowledge [mean difference, 95% CI] (3.4, 3.0 to 3.9, p=0.01) and attitudes (-17.2, -19.2 to 15.2, p=0.01) between first and final year. Pain education teaching varied considerably from course to course (0 to 40 hours), with greater levels of pain related knowledge and attitudes associated with higher volumes of pain specific teaching.
Conclusions: There was little difference in pain knowledge and attitudes between all first and final year NMAHP students other than physiotherapy. This suggests that for most NMAHP disciplines, undergraduate teaching has little or no impact on students’ understanding of pain. There is an urgent need to enhance pain education provision at the undergraduate level in NMAHPs.
The study protocol was prospectively registered at ClinicalTrials.Gov (NCT03522857), https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/ NCT03522857.