Cornwall Living 2018

Passing on our knowledge

Cornwall Hospice Care is working hard to ensure the quality of knowledge of our future doctors and palliative care givers.

Cornwall Hospice Care’s Dr Jane Gibbins recently spoke at a conference in Manchester about the provision of tuition for medical students. The event was run by the General Medical Council (GMC) and Hospice UK and the aims were two fold: to set the scene about the current provision of palliative care and end-of-life care teaching to medical students during their undergraduate training, knowing that this can be an overwhelming area of care for them when they start as newly qualified doctors; to consider how such tuition can be improved in the future.

Dr Jane was asked by Dr Bee Wee – the National Clinical Director for End of Life Care – to present research from a small national group of researchers. They’ve collaborated to obtain a clear picture of what palliative care teaching is taking place and where. The results, according to Jane, show that there’s a huge variability. Some medical schools provide extensive teaching programmes, while others provide very little. There was a clear agreement that hands-on learning with patients and their families is the best possible type of learning, although this isn’t always possible in all medical schools.

Dr Jane tells us: “The discussions have enabled open reflection on what we provide for our future doctors at Cornwall Hospice Care in our partnership with Exeter Medical School. Medical students have weekly hands-on clinical placements within both our hospices, where they’re able to overcome fears and misconceptions about what hospices do. They also observe a wide range of healthcare professionals all providing quality care to patients.

“We’re fortunate to be able to provide such meaningful experiences for our students. We know they rate this highly as they nominated our Palliative Care Team as the Best Clinical Teachers in 2017, a real achievement for the team and proof of the benefits our partnership provides.”

Cornwall Hospice Care’s passion for sharing knowledge and expertise with the medics of the future was formally acknowledged recently by Anna Broadbent, a student from the University of Exeter. She was able to spend time working on a research project with Dr Jane and the results have since been published by the European Journal of Palliative Care. Anna’s work also won a runners-up prize for medical students in a competition run by the Royal Society of Medicine looking at innovations in palliative care.


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