UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Early career training in Addiction Medicine : A qualitative study with health professions trainees following a specialized training program in a Canadian setting Klimas, Jan; Gorfinkel, Lauren; Hamilton, Michee-Ana; Lail, M; Krupchanka, D.; Cullen, W.; Wood, Evan; Fairbairn, Nadia


Background: There has been a notable deficiency in the implementation of addiction science in clinical practice and many healthcare providers feel unprepared to treat patients with substance use disorders (SUD) following training. However, the perceptions of addiction medicine training by learners in health professions have not been fully investigated. This qualitative study explored perceptions of prior training in SUD care among early-career trainees enrolled in Addiction Medicine fellowships and electives in Vancouver, Canada. Methods: From April 2015 – August 2018, we interviewed 45 early-career physicians, social workers, nurses, and 17 medical students participating in training in addiction medicine. We coded transcripts inductively using qualitative data analysis software (NVivo 11.4.3). Results: Findings revealed six key themes related to early-career training in addiction medicine: (1) Insufficient time spent on addiction education, (2) A need for more structured addictions training, (3) Insufficient hands-on clinical training and skill development, (4) Lack of patientcenteredness and empathy in the training environment, (5) Insufficient implementation of evidence-based medicine, and (6) Prevailing stigmas towards addiction medicine. Conclusion: Early clinical training in addiction medicine appears insufficient and largely focused on symptoms, rather than etiology or evidence. Early career learners in health professions perceived benefit to expanding access to quality education and reported positive learning outcomes after completing structured training programs.

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