Medical students' views and ideas about palliative care communicatio training

Elaine M. Wittenberg-Lyles, Joy Goldsmith, Sandra L. Ragan, Sandra Sanchez-Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study focused on the undergraduate medical student to identify views and ideas held toward palliative care communication training, pedagogical approaches to this training, and its perceived effectiveness and use in the medical field. Two focus groups consisting of fourth-year medical students were conducted, and their responses were analyzed using grounded theory categorization. Results indicated that students: (a) prefer to learn nonverbal communication techniques, (b) believe that natural ability and experience outweigh communication curriculum, (c) view the skill of breaking bad news as largely dependent on knowledge and expertise, and (d) prefer curriculum on palliative care and hospice to consist of information (eg, advance directives) rather than communication skills. Implications for these interpretive themes are discussed as well as future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Communication training
  • Medical education
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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