Investigating Future Physician Preparedness for Providing Humanistic Care to Dying Patients

Katie Elizabeth Nelson


Palliative medicine has gained more recognition in recent years due to challenges regarding delivery of end-of-life (EOL) care. Specifically, the training provided to medical students in palliative medicine is often inadequate. Communication between patients and providers is essential when making important health care decisions and facilitating quality of care. Thus, it is critical that future medical practitioners have the ability to effectively communicate EOL issues with patients and families. This research project aims to investigate the quality of palliative medicine education provided to medical students. A cross-sectional, anonymous survey was created and distributed to current medical students (N = 113) to gauge perceptions of the adequacy of training provided, as well as self-assessed competence in providing EOL care to patients. Data collected was then analyzed and integrated to examine overall perceptions of current medical students regarding preparedness for providing quality care to dying patients. The results of this study assist in demonstrating how adequate training for future physicians is critical to improving the quality of care provided to patients at the end of life.


end-of-life care; preparedness; medical students; training; palliative medicine

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