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Hospice and palliative care education in medical school: a module on the role of the physician in end-of-life care

Hospice and palliative care education in medical school: a module on the role of the physician in end-of-life care

Journal of Cancer Education 12(3): 152-156

As a part of a program to integrate comprehensive palliative care education at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a new teaching module was incorporated into the Introduction to Clinical Practice course for freshman medical students. The module is entitled "The Role and Responsibility of the Physician in Palliative and End-of-life Care: the Inter-disciplinary Team Approach." The teaching objectives are: 1) describe the value of palliative and end-of-life care as a professional practice; 2) delineate the barriers to physician competence in end-of-life care; 3) describe the concept of hospice and the multidisciplinary approach to the care of the terminally ill; 4) List the fundamental areas of knowledge and skills required for a physician to be an effective member of the palliative care team. The format of the module is a 30-minute didactic/interactive overview of the teaching objectives, followed by a 30-minute videotape "Care Beyond Cure," produced by the National Hospice Organization. The class then breaks up into small groups to discuss, over a two-hour period, a hypothetical illustrative case. The module was applied to the freshman medical student class in the 1995-1996 academic year. All freshmen were required to take it. Outcome evaluation utilized tools to assess attitude and cognitive domains. The attitude survey revealed that the majority of the students agreed that care of the dying could be a rewarding experience for the physician (72%) and that the case had helped them to understand the physician's role (93%). Overall, 82% wanted to learn more about the subject. Cognitive assessment tools indicated that the students satisfactorily understood the fundamental definitions of palliative care and hospice.

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Accession: 046269373

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PMID: 9376252

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