Introduction: The literature documents inadequate palliative medicine training in undergraduate and graduate medical education. As the population lives longer, many people will experience multiple chronic illnesses and the associated symptom burden. All physicians involved in clinical care of patients need to be equipped with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to provide palliative care, yet most physicians do not feel adequately prepared. We designed a curriculum to provide a meaningful palliative care-ethics (PCE) clinical experience to prepare senior medical students for future practice regardless of specialty choice.
Methods: The Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell integrated a PCE experience into the required 4-week acting internship in critical care (AICC). Students met weekly with an interprofessional faculty member and presented clinical cases focusing on communication and/or bioethical challenges. Faculty facilitators ensured that the presentations integrated discussion of communication skills. During the final session, students shared written reflections. Students were invited to complete a satisfaction survey postrotation and 1 year after graduation.
Results: The curriculum was evaluated positively by the graduating classes of 2015 (
Discussion: It is feasible to incorporate an interprofessional PCE experience into a required AICC. Students indicated a better understanding of palliative care and, at 1 year postgraduation, reported feeling comfortable caring for patients with serious illness.
School of Medicine
Psychiatry; General Internal Medicine; Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention; Family Medicine