Learning to care: a medical perspective

MacLeod, R.
May 2000
Palliative Medicine;May2000, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p209
Academic Journal
The development of palliative care as a recognizable specialty has been supported by an acknowledgment of palliative medicine as a discrete discipline within the medical profession. While the knowledge and skills required for training in palliative medicine are well defined, there are elements of the medical care of people at the end of life that are more difficult to outline. Nursing practitioners and academics in particular have made important contributions in defining caring as an entity, and published work in the field of nursing, bio-ethics and philosophy has encouraged an understanding of what caring is and how it is practised. However, it has rarely been addressed specifically in the medical literature. Undergraduate and postgraduate curricula outline some of the attitudes required to practise palliative medicine but the way in which doctors learn to care and indeed should care has not been clearly detailed. This paper reviews some of the literature pertinent to this aspect of palliative care, with particular reference to some of the elements that may influence how and why doctors learn to care in the way that they do in their practice of medicine.


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