End-of-life care education in United States pharmacy schools

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. Sep-Oct 2003;20(5):340-4. doi: 10.1177/104990910302000507.


Hospice and palliative care have undergone dramatic changes in the past 30 years. Educational initiatives and certification programs for physicians (American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine) and nurses (National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses) have further delineated this area of practice as distinct from geriatrics, neurology, anesthesiology, or oncology. As other professions assess their own practices of hospice and end-of-life (EOL) care education in their respective schools and colleges, the pharmacy profession must also ensure that its future graduates are prepared to adequately participate in this type of care. This was a descriptive study in which all accredited schools and colleges of pharmacy in the US were queried regarding their level of curricular commitment to EOL care. Eighty-three questionnaires were mailed, and 60 schools responded (72 percent). Four primary informational items regarding EOL and palliative care education were targeted, including availability of didactic teaching, specialization of pharmacy faculty, availability and type of clerkships, and method of instruction. Sixty-two percent of respondents indicated EOL care education was provided didactically (3.89 +/- 1.91 lecture hours per year). Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated that EOL care experiential clerkships were available (4.97 +/- 1.25 weeks in duration). These data indicate that over half of US pharmacy students receive some exposure to EOL care education.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Pharmacy / organization & administration
  • Education, Pharmacy / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospice Care*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Palliative Care*
  • Schools, Pharmacy / organization & administration
  • Schools, Pharmacy / standards*
  • Students, Pharmacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminal Care*
  • United States