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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Apr;41(4):796-800. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2010.07.012.

Palliative care education in China: insight into one medical university.

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Third Military Medical University, Second Affiliated Hospital, Chongqing, People's Republic of China.



There has been an increase in the amount of palliative care available in developing countries, including in China. However, palliative care is still very limited, and it is not mandatory to teach courses on palliative care in Chinese medical universities.


To assess Chinese interns' awareness of palliative care concepts.


Using a questionnaire selected from an earlier Austrian study, interns in a Chinese medical university were surveyed. All those surveyed had already been interns for at least six months.


Four hundred interns from a Chinese medical university (response rate 99.5%) were surveyed. Twenty-one percent were female (84 of 400), and the average age was 23 years. Approximately one-third (34.5%) of interns were familiar with the pain scale, and 31% of interns were familiar with the concept of pain management. Only 7.5% of interns felt adequately trained in basic pain management, and 13% felt adequately trained to manage symptoms of dying patients. Seventy-seven percent of interns reported inadequate education regarding discussion of death with patients and family members. More than 80% of interns felt that more education about palliative care should be included in the basic medical curriculum and clinical intern training.


Palliative care education is inadequate from the perspective of the Chinese medical interns. An improvement in the medical school curriculum is needed.

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