A team led by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston surveyed more than 2,000 students and staff at 62 U.S. medical schools to assess the availability and quality of instruction in end-of-life care.
The team also analyzed medical students' competency in end-of-life care as measured by responses to selected items on the United States Medical Licensing Examination®.
More than 90 percent of respondents had positive views about the responsibility of physicians to help patients at the end of life prepare for death.
However, fewer than 18 percent of students and residents reported receiving formal end-of-life care education.
Thirty-nine percent of students and 31 percent of residents felt unprepared to address patients' fears about death and dying.