Integrating Surgical Palliative Care Into the Full Spectrum of Medical Education

Mackenzie R. Cook, Kristen Schultz Reed, William C. Crannell, Karen J. Brasel, Timothy R. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe our institutional approach to incorporating surgical palliative care education into the Undergraduate Medical Education, Graduate Medical Education and Continuing Medical Education spaces as a model to help guide similarly interested educators. We had a well-established Ethics and Professionalism Curriculum, but an educational needs assessment revealed that both the residents and faculty felt that additional training in palliative care principles was crucial. We describe our full spectrum palliative care curriculum, which begins with the medical students on their surgical clerkship and continues with a 4 week surgical palliative care rotation for categorical general surgery PGY-1 residents, as well as a Mastering Tough Conversations course over several months at the end of the first year. Surgical Critical Care rotations, Intensive Care Unit debriefs after major complications, deaths, and other high-stress events are described, as is the CME domain, which includes routine Department of Surgery Death Rounds and a focus on palliative care concepts in Departmental Morbidity and Mortality conference. The Peer Support program and Surgical Palliative Care Journal Club round out our current educational endeavor. We describe our plans to create a full spectrum surgical palliative care curriculum that is fully integrated with the 5 clinical years of surgical residency, and include our proposed educational goals and year-specific objectives. The development of a Surgical Palliative Care Service is also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Surgeon
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • communication
  • palliative care
  • surgical education
  • wellness and self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrating Surgical Palliative Care Into the Full Spectrum of Medical Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this