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Palliative Medicine Specialist Trainee Research experience, interest and opportunities: a national survey


Objectives Despite the acknowledged benefits of research, Palliative Medicine receives minimal research funding and has few dedicated research training posts. This study investigated the opportunities and barriers to participating in research for the current cohort of UK Palliative Medicine Specialist Trainees (PMSTs), to better understand the opportunities to improve evidence-based practice within the specialty.

Methods Two surveys, one for PMSTs and a second for training programme directors (TPDs), were developed. Surveys were piloted and then reviewed by the UK Palliative trainee Research Collaborative and the Palliative Medicine Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) before distribution. All current PMSTs and TPDs representing all of the UK training regions (n=13) were invited to complete the appropriate survey.

Results Overall, 85% (11/13) and 45% (102/225) of TPDs and PMSTs responded, respectively. Almost all (92%) PMSTs reported that they were either ‘very interested’ or ‘quite interested’ in taking part in clinical research. PMSTs generally felt that educationaland clinical supervisors were supportive of them taking part in research; however, few (35%) believed they had access to personnel with adequate research experience to provide practical support. Opportunity for appropriate research supervision varied considerably by training region. Where research was being conducted, it was often conducted in trainees’ personal time due to the wide regional variation in dedicated research time.

Conclusion Despite significant interest in clinical research and support by TPDs and clinical supervisors, access to experienced researchers and equitable protected research time by region needs urgent attention to enhance progress in evidence-based palliative medicine.

  • education and training
  • methodological research
  • supportive care

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