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Dealing with death: simulation for final-year medical students
  1. John Smiddy1,
  2. Agra Dilshani Hunukumbure1,2,
  3. Ritu Gupta1
  1. 1 Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Uxbridge, Greater London, UK
  2. 2 Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Agra Dilshani Hunukumbure, Undergraduate Department, Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Uxbridge, UK; d.hunukumbure{at}

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During medical school, students receive little teaching or experience around unexpected death.1 Formal education and training in caring for dying patients and dealing with death at an undergraduate level is very variable and is under-represented in the medical school curricula. Much of the focus around the subject of death and dying is centred on prevention and care for the palliative patient.1 It is therefore often during clinical placements or even the first year of practice where student doctors will experience emergency resuscitation followed by unexpected death for the first time. This can lead to anxiety and reduced confidence among students in dealing with death in clinical encounters.2

Bringing death into clinical teaching such that students can discuss and reflect on some of the thoughts and emotions this generates would therefore be beneficial. Creating this type of experience, however, is not necessarily easy and has ethical considerations such as potential trauma of a real-life event or the use of deception in any planned simulation of death.3 Healthcare simulation and death has often been a controversial subject with some arguing that …

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  • Collaborators Not applicable.

  • Contributors JS and ADH designed and conducted simulation sessions. The first draft of the manuscript was written by JS and ADH. All the authors contributed to the work and revised it critically for clarity and intellectual content. All authors gave final approval for the paper to be submitted for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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