Health care professionals' perceptions towards lifelong learning in palliative care for general practitioners : a focus group study
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
BMC family practice. - London
, p. 1-11
University of Antwerp
Background There is a growing need for palliative care. The majority of palliative patients prefer their general practitioner (GP) to organize their palliative home care. General practitioners need a range of competences to perform this task. However, there has been nogeneral description so far of how GPs keep these competences up-to-date. The present study explores current experiences, views and preferences towards training and education in palliative care among GPs, palliative home-care professionals and professionals from organizations who provide training and education. Methods Five focus groups were brought together in Belgium, with a total of 29 participants, including members of the three categories mentioned above. They were analysed using a constant comparison method. Results The analysis revealed that undergraduate education and continuing medical education (CME) while in practice, is insufficient to prepare GPs for their palliative work. Workplace learning (WPL) through collaboration with specialized palliative home-care nurses seems to be a valuable alternative. Conclusions The effectiveness of undergraduate education might be enhanced by adding practical experience. Providers of continuing medical education should look to organize interactive, practice-based and interprofessional sessions. Therefore, teachers need to be trained to run small group discussions. In order to optimize workplace learning, health care professionals should be trained to monitor each other's practice and to provide effective feedback. Further research is needed to clarify which aspects of interprofessional teamwork (e.g. professional hierarchy, agreements on tasks and responsibilities) influence the effectiveness of workplace learning.