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Israel serves as a case study for understanding the importance of undergraduate palliative care (PC) education in implementing, developing, and enabling access to palliative care services. This article presents the findings collected from the five medical schools.
This qualitative study supported by a survey explores and describes the state of undergraduate PC education at medical schools in Israel. The survey included questions on voluntary and mandatory courses, allocation of different course models, teaching methods, time frame, content, institutions involved, and examinations. Semi-structured interviews with teaching faculty were conducted at the same locations.
Eleven expert interviews and five surveys demonstrate that PC is taught as a mandatory subject at only two out of the five Israeli universities. To enhance PC in Israel, it needs to become a mandatory subject for all undergraduate medical students. To teach communication, cultural safety, and other basic competencies, new interactive teaching forms need to be developed and adapted. In this regard, nationwide cooperation is proposed. An exchange between medical schools and university clinics is seen as beneficial. The new generation of students is open to PC philosophy and multidimensional care provision but resources to support their growth as professionals and people remain limited.
Significance of results
This study underlines the importance of teaching in PC at medical schools. Undergraduate education is a central measure of PC status and should be used as such worldwide. The improvement of the teaching situation would automatically lead to a better practical implementation for the benefit of people. Medical schools should cooperate, as the formation of expertise exchange across medical schools would automatically lead to better PC education.