Original Article

Evaluation of the Awareness of Medical Students on Palliative Care


  • Rıza ÇITIL
  • İsmail OKAN
  • Yalçın ÖNDER
  • Nagehan Y. ÇELTEK
  • Mustafa SÜREN
  • Yunus Emre BULUT
  • Hüseyin ZİHNİ

Received Date: 24.11.2016 Accepted Date: 08.03.2017 Bezmialem Science 2018;6(2):100-107


The aim of this study was to determine the awareness of medical students on palliative care (PC) for terminal cancer patients.


A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in Gaziosmanpaşa University Medical Faculty. A face-to-face questionnaire form was presented to all students (n=363), and 210 students (57.9%) completed the form. Descriptive features of the students were compared with their knowledge of and attitude toward PC. Chi-square test was used for statistical analysis, and p<0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.


The mean age was 20.8±2.0 years, and 62.9% of the students were female. A total of 52.9% encountered terminal cancer patients, and 64.3% felt anxious to communicate with the patients and their families. 51.9% of the students never heard of PC, 9.7% of the students who were aware about PC believed that the known information was sufficient, 9% believed in not performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in terminal cancer patients, and 16.2% thought that euthanasia should be legally available for these patients. There was no significant difference among the students who did not hear about PC before, who believed in not performing CPR necessity, and who believed in euthanasia in terms of gender and age (p>0.05). 75.7% of the students emphasized on the need of PC education, and 44.8% wished to attend PC postgraduate training.


More than half of the students had never heard of PC. Most students who had the knowledge about PC did not find it sufficient. The number of students who had an appropriate approach concerning CPR implementation to end-stage patients and euthanasia was low. Although three-quarters of the students considered attending PC education and nearly half of them considered working in the PC field, student awareness on PC was not at the desired level. Therefore, student needs to be indicated that the medical curriculum should contain PC subjects.

Keywords: Palliative care, awareness, medical students