Dealing with life-limiting illnesses, death, dying and grief, is uncharted territory for medical graduates. It is a field that is heavily influenced by cultural, religio-spiritual and social factors. This adds complexity to palliative and end-of-life-care, which challenges newly qualified physicians and requires the formation of appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in junior doctors.
A multicentre cross-sectional survey of newly qualified Nigerian doctors (N=40) was conducted using semi-structured qualitative in-depth interviews with medical GPs at two tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The findings show how the challenges of a resource-limited environment and the socio-cultural characteristics of their setting influenced respondents' perspectives, perceived self-efficacy and readiness in the key areas of palliative care. The data highlight the importance of developing and implementing context-appropriate palliative care education and training for newly qualified doctors to provide culturally sensitive, quality palliative care. Emphasis should be placed on communication, and cultural and religious-spiritual understandings of grief, death and dying. Active learning experiences should be prioritised over rigorous classroom lectures and passive, observational learning.
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