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Improving medical graduates' training in palliative care: advancing education and practice

Authors Head B, Schapmire T, Earnshaw L, Chenault J, Pfeifer M, Sawning S, Shaw M

Received 16 August 2015

Accepted for publication 9 December 2015

Published 24 February 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 99—113


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Azim Majumder

Barbara A Head,1 Tara J Schapmire,1 Lori Earnshaw,1 John Chenault,2 Mark Pfeifer,1 Susan Sawning,3 Monica A Shaw,3

Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Medical Education, University of Louisville School of Medicine, 2Kornhouser Health Sciences Library, University of Louisville, 3Undergraduate Medical Education Office, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA

Abstract: The needs of an aging population and advancements in the treatment of both chronic and life-threatening diseases have resulted in increased demand for quality palliative care. The doctors of the future will need to be well prepared to provide expert symptom management and address the holistic needs (physical, psychosocial, and spiritual) of patients dealing with serious illness and the end of life. Such preparation begins with general medical education. It has been recommended that teaching and clinical experiences in palliative care be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum, yet such education has not become the norm in medical schools across the world. This article explores the current status of undergraduate medical education in palliative care as published in the English literature and makes recommendations for educational improvements which will prepare doctors to address the needs of seriously ill and dying patients.

Keywords: medical education, palliative care, end-of-life care

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