gms | German Medical Science

5th International Conference for Research in Medical Education

15.03. - 17.03.2017, Düsseldorf

Bedside teaching on palliative care ward – a qualitative study on students, patients and teams perspectives

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Ursula Kriesen - University of Rostock, Clinic III, Hematology, Oncology, Palliative Care, Rostock, Germany

5th International Conference for Research in Medical Education (RIME 2017). Düsseldorf, 15.-17.03.2017. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2017. DocO4

doi: 10.3205/17rime04, urn:nbn:de:0183-17rime041

Published: March 7, 2017

© 2017 Kriesen.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Introduction: Bedside teaching (BST) is a crucial part in medical education. In palliative care medicine different needs and interests meet. Students need to be prepared for caring for critically ill patients ideally by the patients themselves. Patients – on the other hand – require calm and protection.

Objectives: As mentioned different interests might collide at a university palliative care unit. An analysis of harm and benefit might help deciding, how and whether to organize bedside teaching in palliative care. Following questions must be answered before hand:

Is student teaching perceived as a burden for palliative care patients?
How does a small and potentially vulnerable palliative care team cope with disturbances caused by the bedside student teaching?
How do students feel about palliative care education at the bedside?

Materials & methods: During summer semester 2016 the elective course "Intensive Practical Training Palliative care" was offered for all clinical semesters on the palliative care ward. We present a monocentric, qualitative study on perception and challenges of bedside teaching on palliative care ward at University of Rostock. After intervention students and members of primary palliative care team were asked to fill out a self developed questionnaire on perception of bedside teaching on palliative care ward.

Patients were lead through a semi structured interview.

Results: Overall 21 students, 20 patients and 19 members of primary care team took part. Most patients enjoyed the presence of students on the ward. However, some missed clear cutoff criteria. Students mostly feel comfortable with palliative care patients and do not request professional help for coping with aspects of dying and death. The experience of working with patients in palliative care setting was very valuable for almost all participants. Members of the team saw different threats for patients safety and comfort and request better guidance.

Conclusion: With optimal guidance and organization bedside teaching is a helpful tool for students teaching. Patients and team members must have clear cutoff criteria during bedside seminars to end students presence.