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Palliative Elective Courses

Most medical students as they pursue their career will largely be providing care to older patients. We offer opportunities for medical students to receive training and enhance their knowledge of Palliative Care. The list below are available elective courses in Palliative Care. 

SOMI 421 Subinternship in Palliative Medicine

Course Description:

This four-week elective provides students with an exposure to inpatient Palliative Care and provides the opportunity to further develop skill in managing symptoms and participating in complex patient-and-family-centered communication. Students will function as an integral member of the Palliative Care Inpatient Teams. These services assist in the management of symptoms as well as in complex communication and goal-setting; the Step Family Foundation Inpatient Palliative Unit assumes primary management of palliative issues in partnership with the patient’s admitting attending and the consultation teams provide consultative recommendations. Most students who choose to rotate with us do not plan to go in to hospice or palliative care, but all of them will come into contact with seriously ill patients over the course of their career and will need the skills that this rotation seeks to facilitate expert, career-long symptom management and patient-centered and family-oriented communication.


SPPS 269 / MED 228 Pain Management & Palliative Care

Course Description:

The goal of this preclinical elective course is to provide the students the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to apply palliative care principles to the management of pain and other symptoms utilizing multimodal treatment in a multidisciplinary setting.  In this course, pharmacy and medical students will work collaboratively to utilize and integrate concepts from chemistry, pharmacokinetics, pharmaceutics, pharmacological biochemistry, therapeutics, physiology and pharmacology to develop patient-centered plans of care.  All students will be exposed to all of the content of the course. However, there are some specific things on which we would like each discipline to focus. At the completion of the course, students will be able to:

Pharmacy Student Objectives:

  1. Apply knowledge of pharmacotherapeutics to tailor pharmaceutical regimens for seriously ill patients.
  2. Describe common medication safety pitfalls in the management of pain.
  3. Counsel patients on the safe use of opioids in the management of pain.
  4. Demonstrate how to assess and mitigate pharmaceutical burden for seriously ill patients.

Medical Student Objectives:

  1. Describe a standard approach to assessing a patient’s goals of care using the PERSON™ mnemonic.
  2. Define the concept of “total pain” and relate it to whole-person assessment and the role of a transdisciplinary team.
  3. Apply shared decision making to the treatment of pain for patients who are seriously ill.
  4. Demonstrate how to assess and mitigate the practical and ethical burdens of treatment for patients who are seriously ill.

Shared Objectives:

  1. Identify the tenants of “interprofessional” team functioning and describe a clinical scenario of a palliative care team working in such a way to care for a patient.
  2. Provide an example of a situation to which you had a personal emotional reaction and generate a list of reasons why such a reaction can be beneficial or burdensome.
  3. Demonstrate a complete pain assessment and describe how its components inform pain management including the use of long-acting & short-acting opioids, methadone and patient-controlled analgesia.
  4. Describe the application of the concept of universal precautions in opioid prescribing and list a differential diagnosis of aberrant drug-related behavior.
  5. Demonstrate medical student – student pharmacist collaboration in the development of patient-centered plans of care.