A pilot study of interprofessional palliative care education of medical students in the UK and USA

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Abstract

Background

Educating medical students to care for patients at the end-of-life is increasingly recognised as an essential component of training. Traditionally, medical student programmes are run by doctors, but patient care is delivered by an interprofessional team. Our programmes in the UK and USA independently developed a teaching experience led by an interprofessional team of palliative care health professionals.

Objectives

This study explores the palliative care health professionals’ perceptions, regarding their unique role in medical student palliative care education.

Methods

This is the first study to ascertain views of an interprofessional team delivering palliative care education to medical students. Focus groups enable interaction between members of the group as well as the generation of consensus of comments among group members.

Results

Two major themes were identified: perceived benefits and value of the experience, and the challenges and lessons learnt from the experiences.

Conclusions

Despite different structures and settings, this experiential learning in palliative care provided a rewarding interprofessional experience that has historically been difficult to achieve.

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