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Educational Conferences & Presentations

Dartmouth-Hitchcock offers educational conferences that are both palliative medicine specific, and part of the Internal Medicine, Pediatric, or Geriatric specialties.

The sections below highlight the recommended and required educational conferences and presentations for an example fellowship year.

Recommended opportunities

Geriatrics Grand Rounds

Varying geriatric topics, often including important palliative care and case discussions.

Schwartz Rounds (Adult and Pediatric)

Adult and pediatric case presentations with a focus on how caring for patients affects us and self-care. Run by Dr. Matt Wilson.

Required opportunities

Palliative Medicine Core Didactics

  • Intro to Fellowship
  • Intro to Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Pain Management Basics
  • Dyspnea and Cough
  • PCA and Adjuncts for Pain Management
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Delirium
  • Hospice 101
  • Imminent Death Syndrome
  • Withdrawal of the Ventilator
  • Methadone
  • Substance Abuse in Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Non-Oral Routes of EOL Medications
  • Bereavement Risk Assessment and Grief
  • Hope and Denial at EOL
  • Anxiety/Depression at EOL
  • ADs: History and Ethics
  • ADs: A Practical Approach
  • Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
  • Requests for Hastened Death
  • Palliative Sedation
  • How to Run an IDT (followed by session on "IDT Check In" and "Take Home Points")
  • Understanding Complex and Common Family Dynamics
  • Legacy Building
  • Miracles

Palliative Care Team Weekly Educational Conference

  • Psychology of Palliative Care Case Conferences
  • Fellow Presentations
  • Regional Hospice and Palliative Care Video Case Conferences
  • Journal Clubs
  • Visiting Discussants

Communication Training Series

Our fellowship offers an intentional and longitudinal communication training program.

Our curriculum utilizes role play, drills, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s simulation patients, and VitalTalk-powered communication coaching to teach progressive communication skills.

We use the Serious Illness Conversation Guide as a scaffold and work on specialty-specific skills that will allow fellows to excel in serious illness communication both clinically and academically.

This curriculum intercalates with the expectation of progressive independence over the course of the year during clinical rotations, such that practice "off-line" can be used in real-time clinical encounters to re-enforce take home points. We also assure practice with communicating about Requests for Hastened Death and Miracles, which are less common but much needed for a specialist in this field.

2017-2018 Communication Training Series Sessions

  • Holding Space
  • Recognizing Information vs Emotional Cues
  • Responding to Emotions
  • Responding to Emotions in the Resistant Patient
  • Serious Illness Conversation Guide (SICG) Training
  • SICG – Setting Up the Conversation
  • SICG – Understanding of Illness
  • SICG - Discussing Prognosis
  • SICG – Goals Elicitation Part 1
  • Goals Elicitation Part 2: Wise Mind and Listening for Inferences
  • SICG – Making a Recommendation
  • How to Run a Family Meeting: Taking all Perspectives into Account
  • Responding to Patients who Believe in Miracles
  • Responding to Patients who Request Hastened Death
  • Bedside Coaching Skills for Communication Educators (powered by VitalTalk)

Narrative Medicine Sessions

Regular sessions occur throughout the year during which learners come together with faculty to read short texts — including poems, excerpts from fiction and art — and respond to writing prompts. The sessions are designed to promote development of narrative skills that enable more effective "reading" of patients and their families. Sessions also allow fellows to practice reflection, perspective taking, and develop comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty.

Our Narrative Medicine sessions are facilitated by Dr. Kirkland who has extensive training in Narrative Medicine. Other team members, including our creative writer, contribute frequently.

M and M Medicine Conference

A weekly, interactive, quality improvement conference that often covers important end of life topics, challenging decision making, and communication issues. Internal Medicine residents present, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock faculty discuss the issues that arise.

Medical Grand Rounds

Varying medical and subspecialty topics.

Program Director Meetings

Held approximately every other month, Program Director meetings are designed to elicit feedback about the program from fellows. The program director will:

  • communicate feedback, received from program faculty, to the fellow
  • plan for talks, journal clubs or scholarly/QI activities
  • review patient logs and examine gaps in patient experience
  • and offer personal reflection about the impact this work has on the fellow

Job counseling will occur during this meeting, usually around mid-year.

Self-Care Sessions

As a group, fellows meet with our team chaplain in a design akin to a balint group. The purpose is to support the fellow as they grow into the role of a hospice and palliative medicine clinician. This serves as a time to reflect on the experience of training in this specialty and understand the meaning and impact it has on us professionally and personally.

Social Work Supervision Sessions

In these sessions, each fellow meets one-on-one with a team social worker to reflect on a particular clinical encounter or professional challenge. The social worker faculty member helps the fellow process and gain insight into how their own biases or narrative may be impacting their patient care. In addition, this session allows fellows to gain a more in-depth knowledge of patient psychology and family dynamics in the world of hospice and palliative care. This is similar to clinical supervision that occurs during training of psychology professionals. We feel this offers our fellows the benefit of strengthening their counseling skills, which are important in our field.

Self-Guided Mindfulness Course

Being in a room with a patient and family can be confusing given the strong emotions that are part of serious illness communication. This course is designed to help fellows be mindful of what they are contributing emotionally to an encounter, so that the fellow can more clearly diagnose, be present for, and respond to the emotions of the patient and family. It is our belief that mindfulness training and practice will make our fellows expert communicators.

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