In light of the increasing age of the US population and an expected corresponding increase in the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders, there is a growing concern that practicing US physicians are ill equipped to recognize and treat these conditions. To properly prepare the physician population, it is imperative that medical schools provide learning experiences that will allow students to gain an appreciation of the importance of these conditions and the challenges inherent in caring for patients who are so afflicted. Leading recommendations for learning objectives to instill the appropriate attitudes, knowledge and skills related to musculoskeletal medicine include:
- Attitudes: First and foremost, medical schools must foster an appreciation for the complex effects musculoskeletal conditions have on afflicted patients. Students must come to understand that these conditions can severely affect a patient’s mobility, produce chronic pain, limit their independence, and result in serious psychological and financial consequences adversely impacting quality of life.
- Knowledge: Students should be knowledgeable about the clinical manifestations, pathology, and pathophysiology of the common musculoskeletal conditions.
- Skills: Medical students must be able to conduct a musculoskeletal physical exam and be capable of identifying common musculoskeletal diseases and conditions, and initiating appropriate treatment for these patients.
The Community of Musculoskeletal Educators was established by the US Bone and Joint Initiative and The CODMAN Group to improve musculoskeletal education by:
- increasing awareness to the growing concern that most physicians are not confident treating MSK conditions
- creating an MSK eBook and repository of educational tools/resources for MSK education
- providing a professional network for MSK educators to connect, discuss and share what works and what doesn’t in MSK education.