As a domain of knowledge for healthcare professionals, palliative care is complex and demanding; not least for educators. Effective teaching in palliative care relies on educators both being able to develop and encourage interpersonal skills, and also to capture an authentic sense of the real world in teaching clinical aspects of care. The recommendations of the Francis Report present a challenge to educators: how do we "educate" (literally, "to develop the faculties and powers of") the palliative care providers of the future? How do we ensure they are competent, compassionate communicators?
Team-based learning is currently being piloted in at the University of Bradford as a means of achieving these goals. This technique, developed by Larry Michaelson and colleagues in the United States, uses sound pedagogical principles to encourage debate and dissent between small teams related to complex and ambiguous areas of knowledge. The role of the educator is to guide and facilitate discussion, and challenge preconceptions and assumptions. There is minimal use of lectures other than to consolidate conclusions. It was decided to pilot the technique within the palliative care content of the curriculum, because of the opportunities to develop students skills of critical thinking, awareness and compassion.
Initial analysis of questionnaire and focus group data within Bradford is overwhelmingly in support; students are demonstrating evidence of increased critical thinking, more effective teamwork, evolving listening skills, and satisfaction at learning in a way which they perceive to be much more akin to clinical practice than didactic lectures and seminars. This presentation will look at the structure of team-based learning, review the evidence, and examine how it was applied specifically to palliative care using scenarios based on Patient Journeys in the last year of life. The opportunities for its use in clinical, interprofessional and post-registration palliative care education will be explored.
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