Pediatric resident education in palliative care: a needs assessment


Pediatric resident education in palliative care: a needs assessment


Kolarik RC; Walker G; Arnold RM






Non-U.S. Gov't; PedPal Lit; Internship and ResidencyNeeds AssessmentPalliative Care Pediatrics/education Pennsylvania Research Support


OBJECTIVE: The goal was to characterize pediatric residents' perceived educational needs for pediatric palliative care. The data generated from this study will facilitate the planning of specific educational interventions. METHODS: All residents in the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh pediatrics residency program were asked to complete a survey in September 2003. Participation in the study was voluntary. Residents rated their previous training, personal experience, knowledge, competence, and emotional comfort with 10 specific aspects of pediatric palliative care. This rating was followed by 13 questions related to attitudes about palliative care practices and training. The last section asked the respondents to rank 11 palliative care educational topics in order of importance. RESULTS: Forty-nine of 75 eligible residents participated. Although residents thought that pediatricians should have an important role in providing palliative care, residents reported minimal training, experience, knowledge, competence, and comfort in virtually all areas of palliative care for children. We found no significant improvement in any of these areas from the pediatric level-1 year to the pediatric level-3 year. Residents wanted more training regarding pain management. After pain control, the next 4 educational needs were communication skills, namely, discussing prognosis, bad news, and code status and talking with children about end-of-life care. CONCLUSIONS: There is a clear need for increased efforts in pediatric palliative care education during residency training. Pediatric residents do not think that they are trained adequately in palliative care, and this perception does not improve with time. Pediatric residents view palliative care as important for primary care physicians and desire more education.


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Kolarik RC; Walker G; Arnold RM, “Pediatric resident education in palliative care: a needs assessment,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed February 9, 2023,

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