Interface - Comunicação, Saúde, Educação
On-line version ISSN 1807-5762
SADALA, Maria Lúcia Araújo and SILVA, Mayle Paulino da. Care for terminal patients: the experience of medical students. Interface (Botucatu) [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.24, pp. 7-21. ISSN 1807-5762. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1414-32832008000100002.
The aim of this study was to understand the meanings that medical students place on experiences of caring for terminal patients. Data were collected using individual interviews with 24 medical students at a university in the State of São Paulo. Convergent ideas within the statements from the participants were grouped into three categories: encountering the world of terminal illness/death; relationships with the patient and patient's family; and reflections on caring for terminal patients. In the students' statements, they expressed anxiety about caring for such patients, and difficulty in dealing with their own feelings. They considered themselves unprepared for relating to these patients, but learned through hands-on experience. The results from the study indicate the need to introduce material within medical training that is aimed at developing interpersonal skills and a capacity to reflect on ethical questions and medical deontology involving the terminality of life.
Keywords : Medical students; Death; Terminal patients.