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Survey points out deficiencies in addictions training for medical residents
Date:5/22/2013

A 2012 survey of internal medicine residents at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) one of the nation's leading teaching hospitals found that more than half rated the training they had received in addiction and other substance use disorders as fair or poor. Significant numbers felt unprepared to diagnose or treat such disorders, results similar to surveys of practicing physicians. In response to the findings, recently published online in the journal Substance Abuse, the MGH has increased residents' training in addiction medicine.

"Our residents estimated that one in four hospital inpatients has a substance use disorder, which matches what other studies have found and represents a disease prevalence similar to that of diabetes," says Sarah Wakeman, MD, chief medical resident at MGH and lead author of the report. "Finding that the majority of residents feel unprepared to treat addiction and rate the quality of their education so low represents a tremendous disparity between the burden of disease and the success of our current model of training."

The study's authors note that residents provide most direct medical care in teaching hospitals and often find caring for patients with addictions to be troublesome possibly due to a lack of training and faculty role models which can lead to a lack of trust between patients and physicians. Several previous studies have pointed out deficiencies in addictions education for primary care and internal medicine residents, with some programs offering none at all. Wakeman explains, "Our findings are in line with previous data from training programs that reported limited addictions training and with studies of medical residents showing low satisfaction in caring for addicted patients. It is unlikely that MGH is unique in this educational deficiency, but rather these findings may demonstrate a critical failure in medical education as a whole."

Wakeman and her colleagues designed their survey
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Contact: Kristen Chadwick
kschadwick@partners.org
617-643-3907
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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