Background Professionals at the point of registration should be confident and competent caring for patients at the end of life. Student placements include nurses, art therapists, physiotherapists, paramedics, social workers, chaplaincy and medical students
Aim What do health and social care students gain from a hospice placement?
Method Using collated student feedback 2017–2108, common themes were identified. Literature showed the development of end of life skills, frequently focuses on simulated learning (Efstathiou & Walker, 2014). One hospice study focused only on medical students. (Greenstock, Molloy, Fiddes et al., 2013).
Results The following themes emerged:
Inter– professional working. ‘Different departments and agencies working together to provide for the patient and their family’; ‘Understanding of professional boundaries’; ‘Able to advise on referrals’; ‘Inter–professional working, a holistic approach to deliver effective care’
Communication skills. ‘Taking part in the MDT meeting’; ‘I communicate better’; ‘The ability to converse more comfortably and effectively with palliative patients’; ‘I can talk confidently about death dying’; ‘I have developed listening skills’
The Patient journey and its impact on caregivers. ‘Getting to know patients;’; ‘Seeing different stages of a journey’; ‘Understanding what families go through’; ‘During home visits I saw patients in their environment’
Gaining confidence. ‘Confident with symptom control medication, just in case medication, drug calculations, care in the last days of life, care after death’; ‘I have learnt to pre–empt symptoms’; ‘I recognise the signs of end of life’; ‘I have learnt prescribing skills in palliative care’
Rehabilitation palliative care. ‘Social activity incorporating exercise’; ‘It’s not just death and dying for example, physiotherapy’.
Conclusions The students’ comments directly linked with the building blocks in Ambitions for End of Life Care (2015). Students gain more than palliative care skills; respecting the skills, expertise and contributions of colleagues and teams (Francis, 2013), reflecting professional body requirements (Nursing & Midwifery Council, 2015; Health and Care Professions Council, 2016; General Medical Council, 2014).
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