Palliative Medicine - Palliative Care (MSc-PgDip-PgCert)

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  • Objectives
    Cardiff University offers three levels of qualification in Palliative Care/Medicine as part of a three-phase pathway programme of education. Students may leave with the associated exit qualification upon successful completion of any phase, or academic credits may be awarded to those progressing to the next phase.

    Phase I (PgCert in Palliative Care) is designed for experienced professionals who wish to gain expertise in the practical management of patients with non-curable and terminal illness, and emphasises the unique contribution made by each discipline involved in palliative care.

    The principles of reflective practice and learning also underpin Phase II (PgDip in Palliative Medicine). All the assessments ask students to consider some aspect of their current knowledge and to build on that knowledge, as a result of material they have studied or patient-led/practical experiences encountered during Phase II.

    Phase III (MSc in Palliative Medicine) draws on the knowledge and skill-base developed in the previous phases, with the specific intention of expanding students’ understanding of scientific method and critical appraisal. The principles of reflective practice learning remain as relevant, although Phase III reinforces this self-directed approach with appropriate tutor and supervisor support.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements:

    Phase I (PgCert): Candidates for the Certificate in Palliative Care must hold a professional qualification in the relevant healthcare discipline, current professional registration to practice and be in active clinical practice providing care to patients, some of whom are terminally ill.

    Phase II (PgDip): Admission to Phase II, as of September 2007, is open to all health care professions who successfully complete Phase I, or have gained exemption by APL. Applicants must be currently involved in providing palliative care to some patients as part of their regular work. The course has a paediatric option, designed specifically for experienced practitioners who wish to gain expertise in the practical management of children with malignant and non-malignant life-limiting conditions.

    Phase III (MSc): Admission to Phase III is limited to all healthcare practitioners who have successfully completed Phase II to a high standard.
  • Academic title
    Palliative Medicine / Palliative Care (MSc/PgDip/PgCert)
  • Course description
    Course Description:

    Phase I (PgCert) – This is a 12 month distance learning programme, with entry in September. A hundred places are offered each year and students are self-funded. Different topics in palliative care are studied, and a series of relevant articles are provided as 'Essential Reading', along with optional 'Themed Reading'. The student is asked to identify learning aims and then their progress in achieving them, in the course of their reading and consideration of the subjects.

    Module topics include: Psychosocial care; Symptom control; Cancer-specific themes; Care of the patient with chronic disease.

    Two whole-day study days need to be completed to a satisfactory level of active participation, preceded by the required reading. These are on consecutive working days and are held in Wales. Candidates should perform an audit on a palliative care topic (relevant to their particular clinical setting). Candidates will also be required to write a critique of out-of-hours care and will be required to submit two case reflections.

    Assessment consists of a portfolio of written work and a communication skills video-based assessment.

    Phase II (PgDip) – Phase II continues to take advantage of the home and practice-based learning opportunities developed at Phase I. It remains particularly suitable for healthcare professionals in all regions of the world whose patients require effective palliative care, irrespective of individual specialisations.

    Module topics include:

          Core modules: Advanced pain control; Advanced symptom control; Ethics; Understanding the evidence.
          Optional modules selected from: HIV and AIDS; End-stage cardiac and respiratory disease; Neurological and renal diseases; Oncology and haematology; Principles of paediatric palliative care; Advanced paediatric palliative care symptom control

    The educational resources are accessed through a password-secure personal web space allocated to students at Phase II, supported by a compulsory two-day residential teaching block. Students correspond with tutors by email and submit their coursework electronically.

    All applicants must complete Phase I prior to commencing Phase II, except in cases where there is accreditation of prior learning. Phase II is designed to be completed in one year. Together, Phases I and II should be completed within approximately two years.

    Phase III (MSc) – Phase III comprises a research project which is presented as a dissertation, using a specific structure and guidance issued at the start of this phase. The dissertation provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the core objectives of Phase III by effectively addressing a relevant research question. This may be attained by performing either of the following:

        * an original piece of qualitative or quantitative research, usually in the student’s normal clinical practice
        * a rigorous and systematic qualitative or quantitative review of published literature relevant to the practice of palliative medicine

    The dissertation forms the only assessment for this Phase. Successful completion, in conjunction with success at Phases I and II, leads to the award of the MSc in Palliative Medicine.

    There is only one entry point during the academic year, which is in September.

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