Background A survey of UK medical schools conducted in 1983, 1994 and 2000/2001 showed an increase in PC teaching time and course diversity. Gaps included limited assessment.1
Aims To investigate changes in PC training for medical students at UK medical schools over the last decade.
Methods A web-based questionnaire developed from previous surveys was sent to PC leads in UK medical schools. Responses were compared with those obtained in 2000/2001. The study received ethical approval.
Results Results were obtained from all 30 medical schools and for 24 programmes in 23 medical schools providing teaching in 2000/2001. All continue to deliver teaching on last days of life, death and bereavement. This is now mandatory. Generally, this remains a module within a larger course or is fully integrated. Teaching methods remain similar (2013 v 2001): lectures [28 (93%) v 21 (88%)], seminars/small group discussion [28 (93%) v 23 (96%)], video [18 (60%) v 19 (79%)], case discussion [17 (57%) v 23 (96%)], patient addressing students [18 (60%) v 9 (38%)] and role play [16 (53%) v 22 (92%)]. New features are MDT meetings [12/30 (40%)] and e-learning [14/30 (47%)]. Teaching is most commonly delivered by medical PC specialists [30 v 24 (100%)], GPs [17 (57%) v 20 (83%)] and specialist nurses [24 (80%) v 15 (63%)]. All major topics are covered to varying degrees. Teaching about PC for young patients remains limited [7 (29 responses 24%) v 8 (33%)]. Opportunities for patient contact has increased with 27 (28 respondents 96%) offering inpatient PC unit/hospice visits compared to 18 in 2001 (75%). More medical schools are assessing PC learning [25 (83%) v 6 (25%)]
Conclusion PC training for medical students continues to evolve. Recent changes are increased patient contact and assessment of PC learning.
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