Evaluation of the current status of Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Naturopathy education 10 years after the reform of the Medical Licensure Act – a nationwide survey of German Medical Universities
BACKGROUND By means of the revision of the Medical Licensure Act for Physicians (ÄAppO) in 2009, undergraduate palliative care education (UPCE) was incorporated as a mandatory cross sectional examination subject (QB13) in medical education in Germany. Its implementation still constitutes a major challenge for German medical faculties. There is a discrepancy between limited university resources and limited patient availabilities and high numbers of medical students. Apart from teaching theoretical knowledge and skills, palliative care education is faced with the particular challenge of imparting a professional and adequate attitude towards incurably ill and dying patients and their relatives. PROJECT DESCRIPTION Against this background, an evidence-based longitudinal UPCE curriculum was systematically developed following Kern's Cycle  and partly implemented and evaluated by the students participating in the pilot project. Innovative teaching methods (virtual standardised/simulated patient contacts, e-learning courses, interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborative teaching, and group sessions for reflective self-development) aim at teaching palliative care-related core competencies within the clinical context and on an interdisciplinary and interprofessional basis. RESULTS After almost five years of development and evaluation, the UPCE curriculum comprises 60 teaching units and is being fully implemented and taught for the first time in the winter semester 2014/15. The previous pilot phases were successfully concluded. To date, the pilot phases (n=26), the subproject "E-learning in palliative care" (n=518) and the blended-learning elective course "Communication with dying patients" (n=12) have been successfully evaluated. CONCLUSION All conducted development steps and all developed programmes are available for other palliative care educators (Open Access). The integrated teaching formats and methods (video, e-learning module, interprofessional education, group sessions for reflexive self-development) and their evaluations are intended to make a contribution to an evidence-based development of palliative care curricula in Germany.