Training students in medical and nursing schools at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in palliative care is crucial in the integration of palliative care services in hospital settings. It can be challenging to find time in busy curricula for a new subject and even more challenging to ensure there is a strong clinical modelling as part of the training. The authors achieved time for training in palliative care at undergraduate and postgraduate level which includes classroom lectures, a 1 week clinical placement and summative assessment. However it was not clear if this duration of training makes a difference for the students.
Aim To describe the experience of nursing students and post graduate medicine students during a 1 week's clinical attachment to a hospital palliative care unit and its impact.
Methods A Qualitative study was carried out. Twelve nursing students and ten postgraduate doctors training in internal medicine who previously had been on placement in the hospital palliative care unit were interviewed using semistructured questions. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis and thematic saturation was achieved.
Results Students reported improved understanding of palliative care, when and to whom it should be given and felt more confident to help dying patients and to break bad news. The clinical placement dispelled their fears towards use of opioids. They felt that their practice had changed towards those with terminal illnesses and all other patients and their families in general.
Conclusion This study demonstrated that even short training can have an effect on changing students' knowledge and views towards palliative care. Therefore Palliative care trainers should try to maximise the time they have in the curriculum and ensure clinical modelling is included. This is hoped to have long term impacts on clinical practice and will be the subject of further study.
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