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J Palliat Med. 2000 Spring;3(1):7-16.

Goals and strategies for teaching death and dying in medical schools.

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VHA National Center for Ethics, and Choice In Dying, New York, New York, USA.


Teaching medical students to respond to needs of the dying represents an important challenge for medical educators. This article describes the goals and objectives that should be identified before medical schools can meet this challenge, as well as strategies that, when implemented, will provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to meet the needs of the dying patients. The goals and objectives were identified through a modified group consensus process developed during Choice In Dying's 5-year project "Integrating Education on Care of the Dying into Medical Schools." The authors have diverse experiences and backgrounds and are actively involved in death and dying teaching at 11 medical schools. They conclude that after accepting the goals and objectives, key medical school faculty can work cooperatively to develop strategies to integrate them into the school's curriculum. Without first establishing a set of goals and objectives and developing evaluation methods, medical schools could miss their mark in fostering the student's ability to care for the dying.


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