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Does palliative care education matter to medical students? The experience of attending an undergraduate course in palliative care
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  • Published on:
    Response to: Does palliative care education matter to medical students? The experience of attending an undergraduate course in palliative care.
    • Ratnam Gandhi, Medical Student College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham
    • Other Contributors:
      • Niam Arora, Medical Student

    Dear Editor,

    We read with great interest the article by Centeno et al (2016) with regards to medical students’ experience of palliative care. [1] As medical students, who have recently experienced compulsory palliative care teaching during our 4th year, we wished to offer an insight into our experiences on its importance within the curriculum.

    During pre-clinical years, there was a lack of emphasis on the holistic perspective of dying patients. The early attention on basic sciences can create the notion that medicine is oriented around ‘fixing people’, with little significance placed on the experience of dying. In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) provides guidelines for doctors on the ‘Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision making’. [2] Hence, a palliative care course is imperative, as it prepares medical students for one of the fundamental parts of medicine: respecting and nurturing the process of dying.

    As part of our curriculum we have numerous palliative care days throughout the year. They involved visiting a hospice and speaking to patients, their families and staff, both individually, as well as in small groups. Throughout these days there are numerous activities that aid us to challenge and consider the process of dying. These involved reflective practices to allow students to consider their feelings if they were losing the most valued aspects of their life, as well as talks from family members about th...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.