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39 ‘Shedding light on the shadows’: an evaluation of the experience of shadowing the hospital palliative care team
  1. Suzanne Ford-Dunn and
  2. Kirsty Sayers
  1. Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, St Barnabas House Worthing


Background The hospital palliative care team (HPCT) regularly welcomes healthcare professionals (HCP) to spend time `shadowing them` - observing the team in practice and receiving informal 1 to 1 teaching. There is little data available on the benefits of this type of experience. We aimed to evaluate the benefits through analysis of the visiting HCP feedback forms.

Aim To understand the learning experience and benefits of a shadowing placement with the HPCT.

Methods Evaluation forms were collected over a 2 year period. The content was grouped and analysed using a basic thematic analysis.

Results There were 52 completed evaluation forms. These 52 individuals spent a total of 93 days shadowing the team, the average length of shadow experience was 1.8 days. The HCP were predominantly nursing or medical students (24 and 8 respectively). The remainder were a broad multi professional spread: occupational therapy, cancer nurses, discharge coordinator, H@H nurses etc. Of the 52 HCP, 50 described themselves as `very satisfied` with the placement and 51 found it `very useful`. Analysis of free text revealed 3 major and 4 minor themes. Major themes were Understanding general principles of palliative care (PC), Understanding the role of the HPCT, and Inspiring professional growth. Minor themes included PC drugs/prescribing, Observing good communication, Providing learning resources, and Multidisciplinary team working.

Conclusion The participants overwhelmingly described the experience as useful, with expected benefits in terms of developing general PC knowledge and understanding the role of the HPCT. Unexpected, was the theme of Inspiring professional development, with many HCP commenting that they felt inspired to study more, to think about a career in palliative medicine or just more inspired about their own role in healthcare. This suggests that the benefits of this type of placement extend beyond the individual, to the wider healthcare team and employing organisation.

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