Background: The Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for improvement in education and training of pediatricians in pediatric palliative care (PPC). Given the shortage of PPC physicians and the immediate need for PPC medical education, this study reports the outcomes of a problem-based learning (PBL) module facilitated by academic general and subspecialty pediatric faculty (non-PPC specialists) to third year medical students. Objectives/Setting: To test the effectiveness of a PPC-PBL module on third year medical students' and pediatric faculty's declarative knowledge, attitudes toward, perceived exposure, and self-assessed competency in PPC objectives. Design: A PBL module was developed using three PPC learning objectives as a framework: define core concepts in palliative care; list the components of a total pain assessment; and describe key principles in establishing therapeutic relationships with patients. A PPC physician and nurse practitioner guided pediatric faculty on facilitating the PPC-PBL. In Part 1, students identified domains of palliative care for a child with refractory leukemia and self-assigned questions to research and present at the follow-up session. In Part 2, students were expected to develop a care plan demonstrating the three PPC objectives. Measurements: Measures included a knowledge exam and a survey instrument to assess secondary outcomes. Results: Students' declarative knowledge, perceived exposure, and self-assessed competency in all three PPC learning objectives improved significantly after the PPC-PBL, p = 0.002, p < 0.001, and p < 0.001, respectively. There were no significant differences in faculty knowledge test scores from baseline to follow-up, but scores were generally high (median >80%). Students and faculty rated palliative care education as "important or very important" at baseline and follow-up. Conclusions: This study suggests that key concepts in PPC can be taught to medical students utilizing a PBL format and pediatric faculty resulting in improved knowledge and self-assessed competency in PPC.
- palliative care
- problem-based learning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine