Although depression and depressive symptoms have been previously explored in various medical student cohorts, there has been a lack of formal investigation among podiatric medical students specifically. The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence and related characteristics of depression and depressive symptoms in podiatric medical students.
A mixed-methods approach was used. Students at a podiatric medical college were asked to complete the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised survey electronically each year for 4 consecutive years. Focus group sessions were also conducted to further explore topics related to depression and depressive symptoms.
Surveys were completed by 271 of 539 potential respondents (50.3%). A total of 34.7% of respondents screened positive for depression or depressive symptoms, defined as meeting or exceeding the criteria for subthreshold depressive symptoms on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised. The prevalence was found to be lower in clinical students (third- and fourth-year students) and in students in committed relationships. Themes from the focus group sessions included the following: coping with stress, general health concerns, self-evaluation, action and preparation, and the use of campus resources.
Depression and depressive symptoms were commonly encountered in this podiatric medical student cohort. Future investigations may consider specific treatment and prevention strategies.
The opioid epidemic has hit disastrous levels across the United States. Many attempts have been made to counteract this, including policy changes and modification of provider and patient behavior. The purpose of this study was to understand the current state of podiatric residents' knowledge regarding pain management and addiction.
This study used mixed quantitative-qualitative methods. Two focus groups were conducted with two podiatric residency programs to understand current issues and inform the creation of a survey. A 30-question survey was created and peer reviewed to assess general pain management knowledge, levels of confidence in pain management and addiction, and areas for improvement.
Pain management education in podiatry is mainly focused on opioids. These concepts are often taught in a nonstandardized method, which does not often include nonopioid alternatives. Knowledge of risk factors for addiction was lacking, whereas knowledge of behaviors concerning for addiction was more bountiful. Thirty-three surveys were completed of a possible 39. A knowledge score was created from eight survey questions for a total of 10 points, with an average score of 4.61. There was no statistical difference between those with and without a pain management rotation. Nearly all residents felt comfortable managing surgical pain. The residents are “never” or “only occasionally” inquiring about risk factors for addiction. Questions asked also suggest that the residents are not thinking about their role within the opioid epidemic.
As the opioid epidemic grows, it is imperative to examine the causes and solutions to the problem. Focusing efforts on educating resident physicians is one method to address the issue. The results of this study show that pain management basics need to be reinforced and more time must be spent emphasizing the importance of thorough patient histories and educating patients when prescribing pain medication.
Medical students (MSs) in allopathic and osteopathic medical programs may not be adequately exposed to the role of podiatric physicians and surgeons in health care. We explored perceptions of the specialty field of podiatric medicine from the perspective of MSs in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.
In this cross-sectional survey study, responses regarding podiatric education and scope of practice were collected via a 16-question, self-reported, anonymous online survey distributed to MSs at one osteopathic and three allopathic medical schools in the Philadelphia area. Inferences and conclusions were drawn from the percentages of respondents. Statistical analyses for school of attendance, year of study, and physician relative subgroups were performed.
The 129 survey responses obtained revealed misunderstandings regarding podiatric education and training. Only 45.7% correctly answered that podiatric medical students do not take the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The results also showed the perception of podiatry in a positive light, with approximately 80% of respondents agreeing that the term doctor is applicable when referring to a podiatrist. Respondents with a physician relative were more likely to rate podiatry's role in health care higher on a scale from 0 (inessential) to 5 (equivalent to MDs/DOs) than those without a physician relative.
The results of this preliminary survey were generally positive and optimistic while also identifying some misconceptions regarding MS perceptions of podiatric medical training and scope of practice. Further studies are needed to evaluate perceptions of podiatry from the perspective of other members of the health-care team to improve interprofessional relations and understanding.