Cancer pain education for medical students: The development of a short course on CD-ROM

Paul A. Sloan, Pat LaFountain, Margaret Plymale, Mitzi Johnson, Janet Snapp, David A. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess the educational value and acceptability of a short CD-ROM course on cancer pain management given to third-year medical students at the University of Kentucky. Methods. Thirty-six medical students were given a short-course CD-ROM on cancer pain assessment and management. The Cancer Pain CD-ROM included textual instruction as well as video clips and a 15-item interactive self-assessment examination on cancer pain management. Students were asked to evaluate the computerized course with an 18-item survey using a Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). Results. Twenty-seven medical students completed the course, however, only 11 returned evaluations. In general, the medical students appreciated the CD-ROM material, with the exception of the video clips. Students agreed most strongly (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) that the educational material on the CD-ROM was presented clearly (3.9 ± 1.1), the CD-ROM format was easy to use (4.0 ± 0.8), the CD-ROM course improved knowledge of opioid use for cancer pain (4.0 ± 0.7), and the course improved understanding of opioid-related side effects (4.0 ± 0.7). The self-assessment examination on cancer pain was rated easy to use and felt to be helpful (4.0 ± 0.9) for students to identify cancer pain knowledge deficits. The authors estimate that 150 man-hours were needed to complete production of the CD-ROM without any specialized training in computer skills. Conclusions. A short-course computer format program was developed by the authors to teach the basics of cancer pain management to medical students. A minority of students evaluated the program and agreed the material was clearly presented, improved knowledge of opioid analgesia, and was easy to use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cancer pain
  • Computer-assisted learning
  • Education
  • Medical student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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