Experiences of Teaching Palliative Care

Teachers play a crucial role in PC education. Teachers are expected to organise learning, know the subject area and state of the art, be willing to learn, lead by example, and embody and practise the principles of palliative care. Equipping teachers with evidence-based curricula, clearly defined teaching objectives, method cases and performance assessment strategies should facilitate palliative care education in medical schools.

From 2017 to 2020, our WHO Collaborating Centre at Paracelsus Medical University was invited to participate in the EDUPALL Erasmus+ project, which was initiated to promote education in palliative care at European medical schools.

The WHO has proclaimed that palliative care (PC) should be integrated as a routine element in all basic medical and nursing training. Within the EDUPALL project, a PC curriculum for undergraduate medical education was developed, based on the recommendations of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) for undergraduate education. This was tested in four Romanian medical faculties: Universities of Transilvania, Iasi, Targu Mures and Timisoara.

The evaluation found that lecturers felt they could develop as trainers, create team connections and find their participation rewarding. Participants recognised the need for further development and refinement based on the evaluation of this first EDUPALL curriculum. Concerns were also expressed about the recognition, staff and resources needed to implement this curriculum.

As a direct result of the EDUPALL project in 2020, three more Romanian universities have included PC as optional courses with credit points in their curricula. Two more Romanian medical faculties have signed a decision to use the PC curriculum and teaching materials. As a result, seven medical faculties have expanded their curriculum in PC and adapted their curriculum to current demographic and health issues, including the Covid 19 pandemic.

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