JOURNAL ARTICLE

Development of a nationwide consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for undergraduate medical education in Japan: a modified Delphi method

Yoshiyuki Kizawa, Satoru Tsuneto, Kaichiro Tamba, Yusuke Takamiya, Tatsuya Morita, Seiji Bito, Junji Otaki
Palliative Medicine 2012, 26 (5): 744-52
21920987

BACKGROUND: There is currently no consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for undergraduate medical education in Japan, although the Cancer Control Act proposed in 2007 covers the dissemination of palliative care.

AIM: To develop a nationwide consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for undergraduate medical education in Japan using a modified Delphi method.

DESIGN: We adopted the following three-step method: (1) a workshop to produce the draft syllabus; (2) a survey-based provisional syllabus; (3) Delphi rounds and a panel meeting (modified Delphi method) to produce the working syllabus. Educators in charge of palliative medicine from 63% of the medical schools in Japan collaborated to develop a survey-based provisional syllabus before the Delphi rounds. A panel of 32 people was then formed for the modified Delphi rounds comprising 28 educators and experts in palliative medicine, one cancer survivor, one bereaved family member, and two medical students.

RESULTS: The final consensus syllabus consists of 115 learning objectives across seven sections as follows: basic principles; disease process and comprehensive assessment; symptom management; psychosocial care; cultural, religious, and spiritual issues; ethical issues; and legal frameworks. Learning objectives were categorized as essential or desirable (essential: 66; desirable: 49).

CONCLUSIONS: A consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for undergraduate medical education was developed using a clear and innovative methodology. The final consensus syllabus will be made available for further dissemination of palliative care education throughout the country.

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