Faculty Development in End-of-Life Care: Evaluation of a National Train-the-Trainer Program

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To address serious deficiencies in physician training in end-of-life care, the authors developed and disseminated a faculty development curriculum. The overall goals of this curriculum were to enhance physician competence in end-of-life care, foster a commitment to improving care for the dying, and improve teaching related to end-of-life care. The authors provide descriptions of the curriculum and the train-the-trainer programs (2000–2002) that successfully prepared 17 medical faculty as in-house end-of-life care faculty developers at institutions nationwide. They also report on a study of the effects of the 16-hour, end-of-life care curriculum delivered by trained facilitators to 62 faculty and residents at their home sites.

Program evaluation showed that the home-site seminars enhanced the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of participating faculty and residents. When project evaluation concluded in 2003, trained facilitators had disseminated the 16-hour curriculum as well as modified versions of the curriculum to approximately 3,400 medical teachers. An adapted version of the curriculum is available on the Internet for use in health professions education.

The importance of this type of faculty development effort was confirmed by the positive impact of the 16-hour curriculum on participants’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to end-of-life care, the high ratings of the program’s educational and clinical relevance, and the finding that, on average, more than 50% of the material was new to them.

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