Background: Interprofessional education is necessary to prepare students of the health professions for successful practice in today's health care environment. Because of its expertise in interdisciplinary practice and team-based care, palliative care should be leading the way in creating educational opportunities for students to learn the skills for team practice and provision of quality patient-centered care. Multiple barriers exist that can discourage those desiring to create and implement truly interdisciplinary curriculum.
Design: An interdisciplinary faculty team planned and piloted a mandatory interdisciplinary palliative oncology curriculum and responded to formative feedback.
Setting/subjects: The project took place at a large public metropolitan university. Medical, nursing, and social work students and chaplains completing a clinical pastoral education internship participated in the curriculum.
Measurements: Formative feedback was received via the consultation of an interdisciplinary group of palliative education experts, focus groups from students, and student evaluations of each learning modality.
Results: Multiple barriers were experienced and successfully addressed by the faculty team. Curricular components were redesigned based on formative feedback. Openness to this feedback coupled with flexibility and compromise enabled the faculty team to create an efficient, sustainable, and feasible interdisciplinary palliative oncology curriculum.
Conclusion: Interdisciplinary palliative education can be successful if faculty teams are willing to confront challenges, accept feedback on multiple levels, and compromise while maintaining focus on desired learner outcomes.