Why? The structure of medical training in the UK is currently undergoing a major review. The current plan is for trainees in palliative care to be dual accredited with internal medicine. However, this will mean extensive changes to the curriculum. It is of high importance to establish which aspects of the current palliative medicine curriculum are most valued and where there is scope for change.
How? A focus group discussion was carried out with five palliative medicine trainees, focusing on: Most important areas of the curriculum; Relevance; Anything missing?; Future development?; How this fits with Shape of Training.
Analysis of the transcript highlighted four major themes. These themes were then put to consultants for comment.
Results Four major themes emerged from the trainee focus group:
1. Expansion of non-clinical areas of the curriculum, in order to further develop management, leadership and supervisory skills.
2. Generalisation of the clinical components, to incorporate more general medicine and not make it so specific that trainees struggle to achieve assessments in each aspect.
3. A different approach to assessment was felt to be needed. In particular, not all DOPS were felt to be relevant and more scope for assessment in non-clinical areas was discussed.
4. Flexibility to focus on an area of interest within training, such as teaching, research or a particular clinical interest.
Key points from consultant responses
Overall agreement with many points.
The flexibility to focus on an area of interest within training may be difficult to achieve and actually may be more appropriate to focus on developing as a consultant.
Conclusion These findings provide a basis for ongoing exploration of trainers’ and trainees’ priorities for future development of the palliative medicine curriculum. It is important to consider the views of those interacting with the curriculum in their daily practice in order to develop a tool that can truly meet the needs of the specialty.
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