Senior house officers' experience of a six month post in a hospice

Med Educ. 2002 Jan;36(1):45-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01103.x.


Background: Hospices provide care for patients with a terminal prognosis--a very small number of hospices employ Senior House Officers.

Method: A survey was carried out to determine the experiences of SHOs working in hospices and their perceptions of the learning opportunities available. Perceived stress was measured by a Visual Analogue scale and psychological distress by the GHQ 12.

Results: Of the 38 posts identified 23 SHOs (60%) responded and the majority had qualified during the last five years. Formal teaching was limited, but experiential teaching was very positively described. Many SHOs described their posts as stressful and cited staff conflict and caring for young patients as particularly stressful. Median stress scores as measured on the VAS was 55 mm (range 0-98 mm). Five respondents 22% scored for identifiable psychological distress on the GHQ 12.

Conclusion: Conclusions include the need to acknowledge the important learning opportunities provided within hospices but also the need for consultant staff to be aware of the sources of stress for SHOs and their need for support.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • England
  • Female
  • Hospices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Palliative Care / psychology
  • Perception
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*