Background Medical students have traditionally received no education in palliative care. However, in 2002, as part of a revised medical curriculum, Year 5 undergraduates at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand participated in a 2 h class in palliative care.
Methods Thirty-five medical students (100%) completed the pre and post self-evaluation form and written exam. Stuart Maxwell Analysis was performed to test statistic significance of the improvement.
Results After the 2 h class, all students rate that the highest scale for their interest in palliative care, compared to 62.5% prior to the class. For knowledge, the score in written exam was increased by 50%. Attitudes toward palliative care tended to be improved by increasing the number of people who rated ‘highest’ for attitude domain from 5.71% to 74.29%. As for the confidence to practice in their real life, there was a shift from 92% who rated their confidence up to average to be 92% who had high and highest confidence after the class.
Conclusion This 2 h lecture has significantly raised 5th year medical students' understanding of Palliative Medicine. A short, but well-structured palliative care class can be effective in increasing students' knowledge, attitudes and confidence in palliative medicine.