'Ata time when competition for places at medical school is so high, pre-university work placements for prospective medical students help to develop their skills and enhance their prospects of a successful university application. Yet students cannot always gain access to experience within a Day Hospice setting because the opening hours coincide with school hours.'
In order to address this lack of insight for students, an opportunity was offered to have 2 week placements within Day Hospice including experiencing the wider Hospice organisation to gain greater understanding of palliative care and the challenges of the charity sector.
The service was promoted within local sixth form colleges targeting students entering their last year of school or older. Applications were received from interested students who were then interviewed to ascertain suitability for the project.
Six were selected to participate in consecutive 2 week placements within the Hospice setting, each working 6 days in Day Hospice, 2 in one of the charity shops and 2 in a fundraising office, whilst being supported with identified mentors.
The placements gave them the opportunity to experience first-hand what modern hospice care involves, and offered them time to work with patients and recognise the specific skills required in this challenging sector of medical care.
Student identified benefits included understanding the importance of good communication and empathy, dispelling the myths of Hospice care, providing a caring and supportive environment in which to learn and a greater understanding of charity financial pressures.
Patients identified benefits included enjoying the company of a young person likening it to a 'breath of fresh air', value of communication and appreciating the care.
Following the success of the project, further opportunities will be offered to students each year.
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