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Acad Med. 1991 Jan;66(1):35-8.

Learning to care for the dying: a survey of medical schools and a model course.

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1
Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510-8020.

Abstract

Education on death and dying is relatively new in the United States; a recent survey indicated that there is little consensus on teaching methods and content of courses. This paper reports the authors' 1989 survey of 111 U.S. medical schools, and describes a death and dying seminar offered at the Yale School of Medicine using patients as teachers. Regarding the survey, the authors mailed questionnaires to 124 schools; 111 responded. Twelve of the schools (11%) provided no formal teaching in death and dying. Of the 99 schools that did, 30 provided one or two lectures in the first two years. Fifty-one schools taught death and dying as a module of a larger required course, and 18 schools offered an elective. Lecture was the predominant teaching method, and patient participation was usually restricted to a class presentation. Regarding the Yale seminar, each student meets individually with a patient during the semester and in small groups with the instructor to discuss the interviews, personal reactions, and professional issues in the care of his or her patient-teacher. This seminar enables students to learn the personal effects of serious illness, coping techniques used in daily living, characteristics of the caring physician, and skills needed to provide compassionate care.

PMID:
1985674
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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