The field of hospice and palliative medicine, while relatively new, is a burgeoning one with opportunities to practice in a variety of geographic and practice settings. It offers tremendous opportunities to use your clinical acumen and specialized skill set to relieve suffering and provide significant comfort, in the context of interdisciplinary team practice and holistic care. The patients who need you may be of any age (including prenatal), but they are each struggling with serious illness. As a board certified medical specialty, fellowship training is required in order to qualify for the ABIM Board Certification Exam.
Med-peds trainees are welcomed into both adult and pediatric-specific palliative care fellowships. Most programs are one year of training that provide interdisciplinary clinical, educational, and research opportunities in both pediatric and adult Palliative Care. Adult training programs generally provide 2-4 weeks of pediatric experience, while pediatric programs give fellows 1-2 months of adult experience; often programs offer flexibility in program structure to meet the individual needs/preferences of trainees with specific career goals. In addition to inpatient palliative care consultation, fellows also work in the outpatient arena, in clinics, in the home, and with area hospice agencies to provide continuity of care for patients in home hospice. Further training includes familiarity with the clinical and administrative duties of a Hospice Medical Director and training in program development. A unified curriculum addressing all core competencies of Palliative Care spans the program, and research (including quality or performance improvement work) is also a key component.
Fellowship graduates implement their training in a myriad of different ways, whether as an enhancement to a general or subspecialty practice, or as a palliative care and/or hospice clinician. Many graduates combine part-time hospice/palliative medicine practice with other work, while others choose to specialize in working with patients with serious illness and their families. Regardless of career choice, enhanced training in the principles of palliative and hospice care adds depth and meaning to a career in medicine.
Programs Offering Fellowship:
Dana Farber Cancer Center
University of Michigan
University of Wisconsin