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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 149

Students' Views about Doctor-Patient Communication, Chronic Diseases and Death

Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Gorukle, Bursa, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
A Ozcakir
Uludag University School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Gorukle, 16059 Bursa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19034836

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Context: Students start their medical study with the opinion that saving lives and preventing deaths are the main goals of medicine. So, what will they do when faced with dying patients? How will they feel; how will they communicate? These are important, but often unspoken and neglected, issues. Objectives: We assessed the attitudes and opinions of first-year medical students regarding doctor-patient communication, chronic diseases, death, and dying patients at Uludag University Medical School in Bursa/Turkey. Our secondary objective was to delineate the educational needs related to this field. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of the first-year students in the class of 2004-2005. Students were evaluated using a questionnaire consisting of six questions and 18 Likert-type statements. Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 253 of the 265 (95.5%) students. According to the students, the most fatal diseases were cancer and AIDS. Students strongly agreed with the importance of talking to patients, where female students agreed more than males with this statement (p<0.05). Most students disagreed that patients should be informed that they are dying. Older students feared less for the death of patients. Female students would like to work in an environment where they can communicate with their patients and where they can be with them for a longer period. Conclusions: The results of this survey indicate that the need of providing palliative care, enhancing communication skills with terminally ill patients, and integrating different teaching strategies are important aspects of the undergraduate medical curriculum.

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