Oncology Surgeons Need Better Training in Palliative Care

OncLive (04/24/2019) Wilcott-Sapp, Sarah

Palliative care should be emphasized more in training for oncology surgeons, writes Sarah Wilcott-Sapp, MD. She cites a 2005 survey which found that 84 percent of surgeons did not receive any palliative care training in residency and 44 percent did not receive any during continuing medical education (CME). Moreover, a study last year found one-fifth of surgeons said they received no palliative care training during residency, fellowship, or during CME while in practice, despite the addition of palliative care into the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's competency domains. "Efforts are increasing to include palliative care training during medical school and surgical residency, but it is even more important to include this training in fellowships in which physicians frequently care for patients with terminal diagnoses," Wilcott-Sapp writes. She suggests palliative care training will become more widely available as more institutions understand the importance of education in these aspects of oncology care, and it will require combining current departmental and institutional palliative care resources with fellowship and CME curricula. "The ongoing development of CME related to palliative care is undeniably important for surgeons in practice," Wilcott-Sapp argues. "There is great potential to integrate palliative care training into the curriculum of surgical fellowships to better prepare the next generation of surgeons to practice evidence-based, multidisciplinary patient care to maximize patient [quality of life]."

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