The aim of this study was to identify the educational needs of year one North of Scotland foundation doctors caring for dying patients. A postal questionnaire approach was used. The results from the questionnaire (79/132 respondents) confirmed that year one foundation doctors are frequently exposed to patient death, with 61% finding their most memorable patient death to be emotionally distressing. A quarter (26% ) of respondents had recent experience of significant personal bereavement. Communicating with patients and relatives at the end of life, concerns about overtreatment and lack of senior support were highlighted as particularly difficult issues. Educational needs of the foundation doctors were identified, emphasising the importance of emotional, analytical and personal competencies.