This week Dr Jane Gibbins took the long train ride to Manchester where she was one of the speakers at a conference about the provision of tuition for medical students. On the way home she put pen to paper to write a short blog about her day:  

I’m travelling back on the train from Manchester to Truro having spent the day at a combined General Medical Council (GMC) and Hospice UK event. 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 (as we know that this can be an overwhelming area of care for them when they start as newly qualified doctors), and to consider how we can improve this teaching in the future.

I was asked by Dr Bee Wee (National Clinical Director for End of Life Care) to present research from our national and small group of researchers. We have collaborated to obtain a clear picture of what Palliative Care teaching is taking place and where. The results show there is huge variability. Some medical schools provide extensive teaching programmes, while others provide very little. There was clear agreement that hands-on learning with patients and their families is the best possible type of learning, although this is not possible in all medical schools.

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 of our hospices, where they are able to overcome fears and misconceptions about what hospices do. They also experience a wide range of healthcare professionals all providing quality care to patients.

We are 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. This is a real achievement for the team and proof of the benefits our partnership provides.