End-of-life care is necessary for medical schools to teach in their curriculum. Although it may not be enjoyable, it is an inevitable aspect of practicing as a physician.
Often, medical students may are not adequately taught how to determine the wishes of their dying patients. This must be added to medical school coursework as such desires can impact how a healthcare professional carries out their course of care.
Some schools, like the University of Massachusetts Medical School, are launching training programs that incorporate role-playing with actors. Such programs teach medical students how to interact with the gravely ill and their loved ones in a way that is caring, compassionate, and respectful.
The program introduced by the University of Massachusettes is the nation’s first joint experience of its kind. The program, which is backed by the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care, features simulations, lectures, and group discussions. Students also shadow physicians while they interact with gravely ill patients. UMass, along with Harvard, Tufts, and Boston University, are working to implement similar courses to teach standards for end-of-life care with their students.