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Psychosomatics. 2011 Nov-Dec;52(6):530-6. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2011.08.002.

Psychiatry resident education in palliative care: opportunities, desired training, and outcomes of a targeted educational intervention.

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The Institute for Palliative Medicine at the San Diego Hospice, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.



To assess the educational offerings provided to psychiatry residents in palliative care as well as their concomitant interest in learning more about this subspecialty. To measure the pre- and post-levels of competence, concern, and knowledge exhibited by psychiatry residents when completing a formalized clinical rotation in hospice and palliative care, with additional comparisons to family and internal medicine residents completing the same clinical rotation.


Fifty-two Psychiatry Program Directors and 98 psychiatry residents completed an online survey assessing the current course offerings and level of interest in palliative care. Thirty psychiatry residents were additionally evaluated before and after completion of a clinical rotation in hospice and palliative care.


Few programs offered any formalized training in palliative care, although nearly all psychiatry residents reported interest in this area. A clinical rotation in palliative care significantly increased psychiatry residents' competence and knowledge while simultaneously decreasing their concerns about practice in this area; most were at levels comparable to family and internal medicine residents completing the same rotation. Psychiatry residents' knowledge of pain assessment, pain management, and generalized non-pain management were also enhanced during the rotation.


Results indicate that training opportunities in palliative care are lacking for psychiatry residents in the United States although residents report strong interest in this area. This study finds psychiatry residents can benefit as much as other disciplines from receiving palliative care training. The need to offer such training within psychiatry residencies is highlighted and the welcoming of psychiatrists into palliative care is suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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