Join the Conversation: Palliative and End-of-Life Education

By: Douglas Brown; Nadya Dimitrov

We are pleased to announce — in collaboration with PAEA — the launch of a new community dedicated to discussion about hospice and palliative medicine (HPM).

The field of HPM is changing rapidly. PAs are now able to follow patients and their families on to hospice. This represents fertile ground for the world of PA education. In addition, PAs have helped lead the policy work involved in the world of HPM with the publication of the newest version of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care. This document represents an established curriculum that can be adapted to multiple didactic settings.

For both didactic and clinical PA educators, palliative medicine — including end-of-life (hospice) care — represents a perfect paradigm of the interdisciplinary team. And as 21st-century clinical practice takes on a new image, the “serious illness patient” model is currently being defined within many medical and surgical specialties. This model provides an important opportunity to enhance curriculum with primary palliative care

There is currently no method to capture important clinical practice data for entry-level or post-professional learners, including faculty in PA programs. One of our objectives is to use PAEA’s Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to create the dialogue necessary to accomplish curricular change concurrently in both the didactic and clinical arenas. Another objective is to implement the proposed changes in the 5th edition of the ARC-PA Accreditation Standards. This represents a hallmark of the PA profession: the compassionate listener and the interpretive practitioner.  

Please join us in the new Palliative and End-of-Life Education PLC, where you will find cutting-edge information about HPM that may be valuable to your program. Our hope is that the dialogue will generate innovative ways in which to incorporate important pedagogical tools into the conversation about PA curriculum and professional competencies.

Douglas Brown, MSPAS, PA-C, is clinical coordinator of the Frostburg State University PA program. Nadya Dimitrov, DPM, PA-C, is a clinical associate professor and assistant director of the post-professional masters program of the Stony Brook University PA program.