Introduction: An acute shortage of senior mentors saw the Palliative Medicine Initiative (PMI) combine its novice mentoring program with electronic and peer mentoring to overcome insufficient mentoring support of medical students and junior doctors by senior clinicians. A three-phased evaluation was carried out to evaluate mentees’ experiences within the new CNEP mentoring program.
Methods: Phase 1 saw use of a Delphi process to create a content-valid questionnaire from data drawn from 9 systematic reviews of key aspects of novice mentoring. In Phase 2 Cognitive Interviews were used to evaluate the tool. The tool was then piloted amongst mentees in the CNEP program. Phase 3 compared mentee’s experiences in the CNEP program with those from the PMI’s novice mentoring program.
Results: Thematic analysis of open-ended responses revealed three themes–the CNEP mentoring process, its benefits and challenges that expound on the descriptive statistical analysis of specific close-ended and Likert scale responses of the survey. The results show mentee experiences in the PMI’s novice mentoring program and the CNEP program to be similar and that the addition of near peer and e-mentoring processes enhance communications and support of mentees.
Conclusion: CNEP mentoring is an evolved form of novice mentoring built on a consistent mentoring approach supported by an effective host organization. The host organization marshals assessment, support and oversight of the program and allows flexibility within the approach to meet the particular needs of mentees, mentors and senior mentors. Whilst near-peer mentors and e-mentoring can make up for the lack of senior mentor availability, their effectiveness hinges upon a common mentoring approach.
To better support the CNEP program deeper understanding of the mentoring dynamics, policing and mentor and mentee training processes are required. The CNEP mentoring tool too needs to be validated.
Background: The ability to perceive care goals of the dying may be an indicator of future quality patient-centered care. Research conducted on end-of-life goals indicates discrepancies between patients and physicians.
Objective: The aim of this study is to compare end-of-life care goals of hospice patients and medical student perceptions of patient care goals.
Design: Hospice patients and medical students were surveyed on their care goals and perceptions, respectively, using an 11-item survey of goals previously identified in palliative care literature. Medical student empathy was measured using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index.
Settings/Participants: Eighty hospice patients and 176 medical students (97 first-year and 79 third-year) in a New York State medical school.
Results: Medical students ranked 7 of the 11 care goals differently than hospice patients: not being a burden to family ( p < .001), time with family and friends ( p = .002), being at peace with God ( p < .001), dying at home ( p = .004), feeling that life was meaningful ( p < .001), living as long as possible ( p < .001), and resolving conflicts ( p < .001). Third-year students were less successful than first-year students in perceiving patient care goals of hospice patients. No significant differences in medical student empathy were found based on student year.
Conclusions: Medical students, while empathetic, were generally unsuccessful in perceiving end-of-life care goals of hospice patients in the psychosocial and spiritual domains. Differences impeding the ability of medical students to understand these care goals may be generationally based. Increased age awareness and sensitivity may improve future end-of-life care discussions. Overall, there is a need to recognize the greater dimensionality of the dying in order to provide the most complete patient-centered care.
Background: Voluntary active euthanasia represents one of the key topics in the contemporary world medicine, law, religious, ethical and moral issues. Serbia considers legalization of this procedure. Between the others, it is important to examine the student’s attitudes regarding this issue.
Methods: Data were obtained from the faculties of law and medicine, from the universities of Kragujevac and Niš, Serbia. Data were collected during the second half of 2017. The research included 214 students. Due to the nature, subject and hypothesis of the research, the authors used descriptive method and the method of the theoretical content analysis.
Results: Generally, 54% of the students are in favor of legalization of the voluntary active euthanasia. 62, 4% would take part in the referendum on the legalization euthanasia.
Conclusion: The results obtained in the survey on euthanasia on a sample of law and medical students in Niš and Kragujevac indicate that choice of the faculty (law or medicine) influences the structure (share) of responses to particular questions to some extent. However, this influence does not provide ground for conclusion that students’ opinion on legalization and application of euthanasia depends on fact they study law or medicine.
INTRODUCTION: It is widely recognized that physicians of all backgrounds benefit from having a general palliative care skillset to optimally manage their patients at the end of life. However, strategies to teach palliative care skills to trainees outside of palliative medicine vary widely. In this report, we provide an evidence-based, cross-disciplinary palliative care framework applicable to a spectrum of specialty training environments and intended for non-palliative care trainees.
INNOVATION: We developed and implemented a concise, multi-modal and evidence-based pilot palliative care curriculum focused on essential general palliative care skills required by physicians providing patient care along the continuum of life across specializations. A needs assessment (local research, literature review and consensus expert opinion) in combination with learner characteristics (Kolb learning style inventory, Palliative Medicine Comfort and Confidence Survey and knowledge pre-test) informed the development of a curricular outline. The first iteration of the curriculum was formulated and delivered. Extensive evaluation, reassessment and feedback led to a second iteration, which is presented here.
OUTCOMES: Although the context will differ according to specialization, there are essential palliative care skills required of most specialist physicians. General palliative themes identified for focus include symptom management, communication, psychosocial aspects of care, care coordination and access, and myths and pitfalls in palliative care.
COMMENT: Specialty trainees' value embedded training in essential themes in palliative care within the context of their training program. The process and results of this project, including the provision of a framework, may be applied to postgraduate training programs in various specialties.
Background: Experts recommend integrating palliative care throughout the four-year medical school curriculum, including in required clerkships such as internal medicine (IM).
Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether third-year medical students could gain meaningful experience in primary palliative care during their IM clerkship with observation and feedback from internists and/or IM residents or fellows.
Design: We implemented two clinical exercises: (1) perform advance care planning with a patient and (2) participate in the delivery of important news. Students self-reported aspects of their experience in a confidential online survey.
Setting/Subjects: Third-year medical students enrolled in a required IM clerkship.
Measurements: Students reported the setting in which they completed the exercises, their level of independence, and their level of comfort with advance care planning after completing the exercise. We performed a qualitative analysis of open-ended comments to determine domains, themes, and subthemes and a separate analysis to determine the extent to which the comments suggested learning relevant to the stated learning objectives for each exercise.
Results: The majority of students completed both exercises without palliative care specialists present, 76% (196/258) for the advance care planning exercise and 75% (195/259) for important news. Fifty-one percent (132/258) of students completed advance care planning with a significant level of independence, and 70% (182/258) reported being comfortable or very comfortable with advance care planning after completing the exercise. Qualitative analyses of student comments found that the majority of students described learning something related to the stated learning objectives for each exercise and suggested that they gained an appreciation of the complexity of patient-provider interactions around serious illness and palliative care.
Conclusion: We found it feasible to integrate clinical exercises in advance care planning and delivering important news into an IM clerkship.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the perception of attending physicians, medical residents, and undergraduate medical students about death and dying, the end of life (EoL), and palliative care (PC) during training and clinical practice, highlighting knowledge gaps, and the changes needed in medical school curricula.
METHOD: Cross-sectional study of 12 attending physicians, residents, and undergraduate medical students randomly selected from a single teaching hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, 2018. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcripts were coded in depth, and categorizing analysis was carried out.
RESULTS: Three topical categories were recognized: Negative feelings about death and the EoL, importance of PC, and gaps in curricular structure hindering preparedness for PC and EoL communication. Besides differing perspectives depending on their years of experience, all participants strongly endorsed that the current medical school curriculum does not train and support physicians to handle EoL and PC.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical education plays a fundamental role in the development of knowledge and skills on death, dying, and PC. Such practices should extend throughout the course and be continuously improved after graduates move to clinical practice.
Introduction: Pediatric residents are faced with ethical dilemmas in beginning- and end-of-life situations throughout their training. These situations are innately challenging, yet despite recommendations that residents receive training in ethics and end-of-life domains, they continue to report the need for additional training. To address these concerns, we developed an interactive and reflective palliative care and medical ethics curriculum including sessions focusing on ethical dilemmas at the beginning and end of life.
Methods: This module includes a trio of case-based, small-group discussions on artificial nutrition and hydration, futility, and ethical considerations in neonatology. Content was developed based on a needs assessment, input from local experts, and previously published material. Trainees completed assessments of comfort and understanding before and after each session.
Results: The module was attended and assessed by an average of 27 trainees per session, including residents and medical students. Knowledge of ethical considerations improved after individual sessions, with 86% of trainees reporting understanding ethical considerations involved in the decision to withdraw or withhold medically provided nutrition and hydration and 67% of trainees reporting understanding the use of the term futility. Trainee comfort in providing counseling or recommendations regarding specific ethical issues demonstrated a trend toward improvement but did not reach statistical significance.
Discussion: We successfully implemented this innovative module, which increased trainees' comfort with end-of-life care and ethical conflicts. Future studies should focus on the trainees' ability to implement these skills in clinical practice.
The literature on conscientious objection in medicine presents two key problems that remain unresolved: (a) Which conscientious objections in medicine are justified, if it is not feasible for individual medical practitioners to conclusively demonstrate the genuineness or reasonableness of their objections (“the justification problem”)? (b) How does one respect both medical practitioners’ claims of conscience and patients’ interests, without leaving practitioners complicit in perceived or actual wrongdoing (“the complicity problem”)? My aim in this paper is to offer a new framework for conscientious objections in medicine, which, by bringing medical professionals’ conscientious objection into the public realm, solves the justification and complicity problems. In particular, I will argue that: (a) an “Uber Conscientious Objection in Medicine Committee” (“UCOM Committee”)—which includes representatives from the medical community and from other professions, as well as from various religions and from the patient population—should assess various well-known conscientious objections in medicine in terms of public reason and decide which conscientious objections should be permitted, without hearing out individual conscientious objectors; (b) medical practitioners should advertise their (UCOM Committee preapproved) conscientious objections, ahead of time, in an online database that would be easily accessible to the public, without being required, in most cases, to refer patients to non-objecting practitioners.
As nearly all doctors deal with patients requiring palliative care, it is imperative that palliative care education starts early. This study aimed to validate a national, palliative care competency framework for undergraduate medical curricula. We conducted a Delphi study with five groups of stakeholders (palliative care experts, physicians, nurses, curriculum coordinators, and junior doctors), inviting them to rate a competency list. The list was organized around six key competencies. For each competency, participants indicated the level to which students should have mastered the skill at the end of undergraduate training. Stability was reached after two rating rounds (N = 82 round 1, N = 54 round 2). The results showed high levels of agreement within and between stakeholder groups. Participants agreed that theoretical knowledge is not enough: Students must practice palliative care competencies, albeit to varying degrees. Overall, communication and personal development and well-being scored the highest: Junior doctors should be able to perform these in the workplace under close supervision. Advance care planning scored the lowest, indicating performance in a simulated setting. A wide range of stakeholders validated a palliative care competency framework for undergraduate medical curricula. This framework can be used to guide teaching about palliative care.
Caring for dying patients is often a new experience for ICU residents. End-of-life and palliative training in medical schools is lacking. Many residents experience troublesome emotions during residency. Literature establishes that residents show lower well-being scores than similar populations. To make emotional wellness a priority for residents, monthly mandatory Palliative Care Rounds (PCR) were established in the ICU. The role of the Palliative Care Social Worker (PCSW) is central in planning and implementing PCR. Social workers have unique skills well-suited to this type of activity in an acute care setting. Residents present cases and the PCSW facilitates discussion to explore complex emotions helping residents process their feelings. Forty-five residents responded to a seven-item questionnaire, out of 70 potential resident respondents (64% response rate). Only 60% said they learned about end-of-life and its emotional aspects in medical school. Ninety-eight percent reported the PCR helped them be more aware of their feelings, and would recommend it to colleagues. Ninety-five percent said PCR are important for interns and residents to help them grow professionally and become better clinicians. Through the process of dissecting their emotions, PCR allows for personal and professional growth that improves residents’ ability to become empathic providers.
Background: The number of medical undergraduate and postgraduate students completing palliative care clinical rotations in Canadian medical schools is currently unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the proportion of Canadian medical trainees completing clinical rotations in palliative care and to determine whether changes took place between 2008 and 2018.
Methods: In this descriptive study, all Canadian medical schools (n = 17) were invited to provide data at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels (2007/08–2015/16 and 2007/08–2017/18, respectively). Information collected included the number, type and length of palliative care clinical rotations offered and the total number of medical trainees or residents enrolled at each school.
Results: All 17 Canadian medical schools responded to the request for information. At the undergraduate level, palliative care clinical rotations were not offered in 2 schools, mandatory in 2 and optional in 13. Three schools that offered optional rotations were unable to provide complete data and were therefore excluded from further analyses. In 2015/16, only 29.7% of undergraduate medical students completed palliative care clinical rotations, yet this was a significant improvement compared to 2011/12 (13.6%, p = 0.02). At the postgraduate level, on average, 57.9% of family medicine trainees completed such rotations between 2007/08 and 2016/17. During the same period, palliative care clinical rotations were completed by trainees in specialty or subspecialty programs in anesthesiology (34.2%), geriatric medicine (64.4%), internal medicine (30.9%), neurology (28.2%) and psychiatry (64.5%).
Interpretation: Between 2008 and 2018, a large proportion of Canadian medical trainees graduated without the benefit of a clinical rotation in palliative care. Without dedicated clinical exposure to palliative care, many physicians will enter practice without vital palliative care competencies.
"Kipal, le jeu du qui quoi comment en soins palliatifs" est un outil ludopédagogique élaboré par une infirmière et un médecin membres d’une équipe mobile de soins palliatifs au centre hospitalier de Vienne. Grâce à la création de cas patients fictifs et évolutifs au cours du jeu, les soignants participants peuvent appréhender des thèmes variés concernant les soins palliatifs de façon interactive. Les bénéfices attendus sont, une implication des apprenants devenant acteurs de leur formation, la dédramatisation du thème des soins palliatifs, la définition d’une démarche palliative et la découverte de la variété des prises en soin par la richesse des scénarios possibles. Pour cela, le jeu propose 16 situations cliniques brèves, issues de diverses spécialités, 46 cartes dites "évènement" (clinique, psychologique, social ou familial) et 62 cartes "suggestion" (ressources humaines et techniques disponibles) qui pourront être associées à l’infini à chaque partie. Cet outil est réservé aux professionnels des soins palliatifs lors de formations destinées à des soignants non spécialisés, mais exerçant auprès de personnes nécessitant des soins palliatifs. En perspective, des extensions pourront être développées pour s’adapter à un public plus large (pédiatrie, domicile). Soutenu par le Fonds pour les soins palliatifs et approuvé par la Société française d’accompagnement et de soins palliatifs (SFAP), 250 jeux Kipal ont été attribués lors du congrès francophone de soins palliatifs organisé par la SFAP et la Fédération francophone internationale de soins palliatifs en 2019.
BACKGROUND: Despite advances in medical care, pediatric deaths are still an unfortunate reality. Most of these deaths occur within a hospital setting. End-of-life care is an important part of medical care for children with serious illnesses. Despite the importance, pediatric providers report a lack of comfort surrounding end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVE: To assess categorical pediatric residents' perceptions and participation in providing end-of-life care to dying children and their families.
STUDY DESIGN: This is a survey-based, descriptive, mixed-methods study. Survey was sent to categorical pediatric residents at Indiana University School of Medicine in June 2018 to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information on resident perception and participation in end-of-life care. Surveys were sent to 100 residents with a response rate of 68%.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Pediatric residents at Indiana University School of Medicine.
RESULTS: The comfort and participation in end-of-life care are limited in all levels of pediatric training. Residents do not feel comfortable with 19 of 22 questions related to end-of-life care. Only 32% of residents felt their education prepared them to participate in end-of-life care. Almost one-fifth (19.5%) of residents report participating in zero aspect of end-of-life care. Themes discussed by residents include education, experience, communication, social norms, emotions, self-care, comfort, and family.
CONCLUSION: More formalized education and training is needed to increase resident comfort with and participation in end-of-life care. Such future interventions should focus on communication surrounding difficult conversations and providing guidance for families.
PURPOSE: International health electives (IHEs) provide numerous educational benefits; potential harms are less well understood. One potential harm is trainee distress associated with increased patient death during IHEs. The purpose of this study was to explore residents' and fellows' IHE experiences with patient death.
METHOD: The authors used applied thematic analysis to explore residents' and fellows' IHE experiences with patient death. The Mayo International Health Program supports IHEs from all specialties across three Mayo Clinic sites. Data were collected and analyzed in two steps. First the authors collected, coded, and analyzed narrative reflections from 43 postrotation reports gathered in 2001-2017 and identified themes relating to experiences with patient death. Second, in 2016-2017 the authors conducted semistructured interviews with six previous participants to refine thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Participants described impacts of experiencing increased patient death and identified themes in two domains: difficult experiences with patient death and potential interventions to help residents process their experiences. They identified four themes illustrating why these experiences were difficult: lack of preparation for increased exposure to death, lack of closure, consequences of limited resources, and differences in cultural beliefs regarding death. While pretrip preparation for dealing with death was viewed as important, trainees identified support during and debriefing after IHEs as additional important interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: Given the popularity of IHEs, residency programs should consider the effect on trainees of increased exposure to patient death. Study findings can inform IHE preparation, support, and debriefing to minimize distress associated with witnessing patient deaths on IHEs.
OBJECTIVE: To characterize how pediatric resident self-evaluation compares to standardized patient evaluations in simulated child death disclosure scenarios.
STUDY DESIGN: This was a prospective, observational, mixed-methods study in which 18 PGY-2 pediatric residents delivered the news of a death of a child to a trained standardized patient (SP) couple. The SPs evaluated residents via a quantitative global rating (1 to 3 scale) and via qualitative comments. Following the training, the residents completed self-assessments consisting of a global rating, qualitative comments, and their confidence related to five death disclosure skills.
RESULTS: Agreement between SPs and resident ratings was poor; resident scores were compared to each of their two SP evaluators yielding Kappa coefficients of -0.23 (95% CI = -0.60 to -0.07) and –0.30 (95% CI = -0.70 to –0.04). Residents uniformly rated themselves as less capable in their communication skills than SPs did. Residents reported significant increases in their confidence in discussing autopsy and organ donation. Major themes determined from the qualitative comments from SPs included non-verbal communication, verbal communication, attunement to parents, and management of next steps. Residents’ comments mirrored these themes with the exception of the absence of non-verbal communication.
CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric residents underestimated their abilities in a self-assessment of their performance in a SP death disclosure scenario, demonstrating the importance of external feedback, particularly from SPs themselves. Based on SP feedback, future death disclosure trainings should emphasize non-verbal communication skills and specific behaviors that convey effective attunement to families.
This study explores how medical students feel about caring for terminally ill patients as well as how their medical courses prepare them for addressing end-of-life (EOL) issues with patients. Four hundred and five Mexican medical students were surveyed through the Student Views on Death questionnaire. The vast majority of students (94%) felt that physicians should inform patients of their impending death. Most students said they felt comfortable talking with (61%) or examining (76%) terminally ill patients. However, only half the students actually talked with patients about death. Participants in our study were interested in learning about EOL medical attention, yet most considered themselves poorly prepared to offer this type of care to terminally ill patients. The study provides objective data on a topic that has scarcely been explored in Mexico, data that will be useful in designing educational activities to improve EOL medical training.
Palliative care (PC) is an essential part of the healthcare system, aiming to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients and their families through prevention, relief of suffering, and providing psychosocial and spiritual support. To achieve high-quality PC, medical education should encompass PC training, including knowledge of PC, and skills and attitudes towards PC, at the undergraduate level. The aim of this study is to identify PC knowledge and experience among undergraduate medical and nursing students at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), a government university in Oman. A validated questionnaire that measures knowledge and experiences of PC was administered to all final year medical and nursing students (N = 196) at SQU. The majority of the students (93.4%) were aware of the term PC, but most of them (68.9%) did not have any experience of PC. Around half of the students (54.9%) had a vague notion of how to implement PC, and only 41.3% felt confident in providing PC for terminally ill patients. Less than half of the students (44.8%) were aware that the patient’s family should be included in PC, as well as the patient. The majority of students (71.3%) thought that PC should be included in the undergraduate teaching curriculum, though few students (17.9%) knew that PC is currently a specialized medical unit (sub-department) in Oman. Most of the students (73.0%) thought that terminally ill patients have the right to choose “do not resuscitate,” but few students agreed that patients should be able to request a lethal dose (24.0%) or consent to a physician-assisted suicide (35.7%). Most of the students (84.7%) believed that special psychological support should be provided for doctors and nurses working in PC. Bivariate analysis showed no significance in the knowledge of applied PC in relation to which of the colleges the students were from (p = 0.283) or gender of the students (p = 0.068). Despite the fact that SQU students had favorable attitudes towards PC, they have insufficient knowledge and lack of experience. As the number of geriatric and terminal cancer patients increases across Oman, there is a need for the healthcare system to provide high-quality and effective PC services. Thus, there is an urgent need to integrate PC teaching courses as part of the undergraduate medical education for medical and nursing students.
Lorsqu’un jeune étudiant en médecine décide de vivre, de l’intérieur, les joies et les peines d’un service de soins palliatifs, il fait un choix difficile. À distance de l’impératif thérapeutique, partant à la découverte des aspérités d’une humanité en suspens, Amaury Cinquin livre à Laennec une expérience forte. Durant ces semaines, il s’est exercé à l’empathie, a découvert des souffrances apparemment sans issue. Il s’est attaché à comprendre en quoi une certaine organisation institutionnelle permet à tous, soignants et patients, de mieux vivre des situations difficiles. Prenant du recul sur ses études et sa future pratique, il a quitté la Maison Jeanne-Garnier avec un autre regard sur la mort.
BACKGROUND: The General Medical Council expects medical graduates to care for dying patients with skill, clinical judgement and compassion. UK surveys continually demonstrate low confidence and increasing distress amongst junior doctors when providing care to the dying.
AIM: This systematic review aims to determine what has been evidenced within worldwide literature regarding medical undergraduate confidence to care for dying patients.
DESIGN: A systematic electronic search was undertaken. Data extraction included measurements of baseline confidence, associated assessment tools and details of applied educational interventions. Pre/postintervention confidence comparisons were made. Factors influencing confidence levels were explored.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, ISI Web of Science, ERIC, PsycINFO, British Education Index and Cochrane Review databases were accessed, with no restrictions on publication year. Eligible studies included the terms 'medical student', 'confidence' and 'dying', alongside appropriate MeSH headings. Study quality was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.
RESULTS: Fifteen eligible studies were included, demonstrating a diversity of assessment tools. Student confidence was low in provision of symptom management, family support, and psycho-spiritual support to dying patients. Eight interventional studies demonstrated increased postinterventional confidence. Lack of undergraduate exposure to dying patients and lack of structure within undergraduate palliative care curricula were cited as factors responsible for low confidence.
CONCLUSION: This review clarifies the objective documentation of medical undergraduate confidence to care for the dying. Identifying where teaching fails to prepare graduates for realities in clinical practice will help inform future undergraduate palliative care curriculum planning.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019119057.
Death is ubiquitous and inevitable. Many of us have had some experience with death in our personal lives, and as clinicians and researchers, we address death either directly or indirectly, almost every day. Still, there remains significant debate and gaps in knowledge regarding the biology of death, as well as the medical and ethical issues concerning death and dying. This multi-disciplinary issue of the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine is devoted to exploring the major advances and unresolved questions about death. We present 25 articles representing contributions from researchers that examine death at different biological scales and that provide legal, medical, and ethical perspectives on the process of dying.
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