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Geriatrics 2018, 3(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3010006

“Sacred Work”: Reflections on the Professional and Personal Impact of an Interdisciplinary Palliative Oncology Clinical Experience by Social Work Learners

1
Kent School of Social Work, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
2
School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology Care and Research in the Elderly)
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Abstract

This study explored the impact of an oncology palliative care clinical experience with older adults on social work learners. A three-member research team conducted a qualitative content analysis of reflective writings. 27 Master of Science in Social Work students enrolled in an interprofessional palliative oncology curriculum and completed a reflective writing assignment to summarize the clinical scenario, analyze the patient/family care provided, and describe the impact of the experience. Using a constant comparison approach based on grounded theory, the research team analyzed the reflections to come to consensus related to the overall impact of the experience. Two overarching themes (professional and personal impact) and 11 subthemes (appreciation of interdisciplinary teams, recognition of clinical skills of other disciplines, insight into clinical skills of the social worker, perception of palliative care, embracing palliative care principles, centrality of communication, importance of social support, family as the unit of care, countertransference, conflict between personal values and patient/family values, and emotional reactions) were identified. Experiential learning opportunities for social work learners in interprofessional palliative care build appreciation for and skills in applying palliative care principles including teamwork, symptom control, and advanced care planning along with a commitment to embrace these principles in future practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer; palliative care; older adults; interprofessional education; interdisciplinary teams; hospice; social work; learner reflections; experiential learning cancer; palliative care; older adults; interprofessional education; interdisciplinary teams; hospice; social work; learner reflections; experiential learning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Middleton, A.A.; Schapmire, T.J.; Head, B. “Sacred Work”: Reflections on the Professional and Personal Impact of an Interdisciplinary Palliative Oncology Clinical Experience by Social Work Learners. Geriatrics 2018, 3, 6.

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