Updated: Mar 9
Why This is the Right Time to Hone Your Pediatric Pain Care Skills
In this episode, Dr Kundu reminds us of the numerous benefits, not only for our patients but for us as healthcare providers, in taking intentional action to improve our pain management skills. Honestly, this could apply to individuals who are thinking about pursuit of a pain fellowship, or it could apply to all of as healthcare providers caring for any patient population.
Improving your skills in pain management need not be necessarily time-consuming but it does need to be intentional. As Dr Kundu points out, many of us don't necessarily see the day-to-day signaling that undertreated pain continues to be highly prevalent and this can lead to complacency. But the truth is, pain does continue to be underrecognized and undertreated. We might feel powerless, or overwhelmed and we are not alone. Our medical practices are busy and often we might feel we don't have the energy to tackle something as complicated and challenging as improving pain management. And imagine what this does to the medical provider - patient relationship.
The alternative to not being intentional in learning something new is that the state of inadequate knowledge related to pain is maintained. And this leads to inappropriate treatment options, the very thing that we are trying to avoid! Scrutiny surrounding our prescribing practices of opioids is to be avoided which is why it is so important to improve our understanding and approach pain management in a systematic way. We can't look away from how we manage pain any longer.
So here's the deal. Consider how you might feel if rather than being challenged, you were curious. Consider how gaining some additional knowledge in the form of daily tidbits of information might allow you to make slow and steady progress towards you having more comfort in addressing pain management issues. And when you are more comfortable, you are more confident. You feel more effective and you might experience higher job satisfaction and improved interactions with your colleagues and patients.
Dr Kundu describes that there are four drivers to one's job satisfaction... and that this is directly connected to the satisfaction of our patients.
1 Whether you enjoy your work or not. Do you feel knowledgeable and confident (and also know when to refer your patients to another colleague who can help)? Being knowledgeable and confident leads to increased self-efficacy and empowerment.
2 Rewards or recognition. This could be in the form of more formal acknowledgement of your best practices or trophies. But it could also be more personal as in making a patient smile, being known as 'that provider' who really seems interested in what they can do to improve the situation and finding out the answer to a question they don't know. You may never realize the supreme impact some of your smallest gestures might have on others, patients and colleagues alike.
3 Opportunity to learn new skills and grow. There is a particularly relevant quote. 'Failure to plan is planning to fail'. One must be intentional in their goals rather than leaving something to chance. Many of us took on careers in healthcare as we see ourselves as life-long learners. Leaning in to something that is difficult can be extremely rewarding and empowering. You may develop an interest you thought you never really had.
4 Make good use of ability and skills. The quality of care you deliver drives your satisfaction. Attention to improving pain management goes far beyond knowing the correct dosages of medications and the different types of pain. It gets to the heart of trying to establish true connection with our patients and conveying our desire to improve the experiences of our patients.
5 Ability to have work-life balance. When you feel more effective at work, you are more able to 'leave it behind' when your clinical responsibilities end for the day. And taking care of yourself is important for being able to show up tomorrow for your patients and colleagues.
The Call to Action
Set intention to learn something practical about pain management every day
Check out Pedia Pain Focus podcast by Dr Kundu on the Apple Store
Refer to the ChildKind International website for a resource library rich with actionable items
SickKids Pain Management, Research and Education Centre
GetSmart website from Johns Hopkins Medicine
Stay tuned to this website (PreEmpt Pain) for practical information to put into practice everyday
'History will judge us by the difference we make in the every day lives of children'
- Nelson Mandela
And finally, share with us the small steps you intend to take on a regular basis to improve your pain management skills. What advice do you have? What are some of the challenges you face in taking the recommendations above.
Connect with us so we can together change the face of pain management.
Are there particular pain management sites or information that you use on a regular basis and would recommend to others? Share your ideas with us in the comments.