Impact of the educational session on knowledge and attitude toward palliative care among undergraduate medical, nursing, and physiotherapy students: a comparative study

T. V. S. Divyalasya, K. Vasundara, H. P. Pundarikaksha


Background: Palliative care forms an integral part in the treatment of terminally-ill patients. To care for dying patients requires a thorough medical education, which is lacking in today’s undergraduate curriculum. The objective was to compare the attitude and knowledge about palliative care among the undergraduates of medical, nursing, and physiotherapy before and after an educational session on palliative care.

Methods: A pre-validated 20-point questionnaire on attitude and knowledge about palliative care was distributed to 2nd year medical (22), nursing (28) and physiotherapy (20) students before and after palliative care educational session. Results obtained were compared within and in between the groups. Paired t test was used for within the group and one-way ANOVA for in between the group comparison. p-value <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

Results: All groups showed statistically significant improvement in knowledge, attitude, and pain management scores following palliative care educational session. The pre-session evaluation showed that physiotherapy students had better knowledge and attitude about palliative care. Pre-educational assessment of knowledge about pain management was similar among the three groups statistically. After the session, mean improvement in palliative care knowledge scores was more in medical, followed by physiotherapy and nursing students. On inter-group comparison, statistically significant improvement in knowledge scores was seen in medical and physiotherapy students compared with nursing students. All three groups showed statistically similar improvement in attitude and pain management scores.

Conclusion: Significant improvement was seen in attitude and basic knowledge about palliative care in the students following an educational session. Therefore, including palliative care in the curriculum enables them to deliver appropriate end-of-life care to patients.


Palliative care, Medical curriculum, Undergraduates, Pain management

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