Palliative care teaching, what can we learn?

Ian E. Haines, Carrie Lethborg, Max A. Schwarz

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Lack of palliative care education is being identified by many universities as a deficiency in their undergraduate medical teaching programme which requires urgent implementation into the undergraduate curriculum. A comprehensive teaching programme in palliative care was devised and commenced at our institution at the beginning of 1991. This consists of seven one and half hour modules given to students in the last years of their course. The modules cover the broad range of aims of the course (as outlined) by using a diverse range of educational principles and methods and only a minimum of traditional non‐interactive didactic teaching. Students complete anonymous evaluation form at the completion of the course and responses from the medical students have been overwhelmingly positive. 89 percent of students rated the course ‘very useful’ or ‘extremely useful’. The students' rating placed this course above all other components of their undergraduate teaching programme. However, written comments from students have provided us with even more significant insights into the importance of the programme, such as ‘why weren't we taught this before’ and ‘I would like to see more space given to discussion on how to cope with the stress of the medical profession.’ The skills involved in palliative care are basic to good doctoring generally and we believe that this teaching programme could help form the basis for future medical undergraduate teaching programmes in palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995

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