Core competencies in pain management for prelicensure health professional education were recently established and represent minimal capabilities for health science students across four domains: multidimensional nature of pain, pain assessment and measurement, management of pain, and context of pain. One hundred million adults in America suffer from chronic pain. and costs the U.S. over 600 billion dollars per year in health care costs and lost wages. Under-treatment, inadequate-treatment or mismanagement of pain is common and can delay recovery and result in long-lasting changes to the peripheral and central nervous system. The Institute of Medicine report on pain addressed the deficit in pain education across all professions and promoted the inclusion of standardized information about pain within an “interprofessional setting”. The purpose of this article is to advocate for and identify how core competencies for pain can be applied to entry-level physical therapy curriculum. We will outline the core competencies and how these relate to physical therapy practice, provide practical evidence for how to integrate the competencies into physical therapy curriculum, and discuss the challenges and barriers to integration. Ensuring the core competencies in pain management are embedded within physical therapy education will provide the tools for the profession of physical therapy to stand with all health professions to provide comprehensive pain management.
- Received August 6, 2013.
- Accepted November 26, 2013.
- © 2013 American Physical Therapy Association