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Palliative medicine

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Acceptance into the elective is by application only.

All applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities™ (VSLO®) 

During your palliative medicine rotation, you will be exposed to both common and rare medical conditions. You also will be able to seek appropriate learning opportunities to make the most of your individual Geisinger experience. The staff and residents are excellent resources to further your education.

Goals & objectives

To advance the medical knowledge and clinical skills acquired during the third- or fourth-year palliative elective.

Medical knowledge
Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical and social sciences, and demonstrate the application of their knowledge to patient care and education.

Objective: Develop knowledge concerning difficult physician/family and patient communication issues

Patient care
Students are expected to learn and provide care for patients with interdisciplinary therapeutic palliative care model targeted to the care of patients with all types of chronic and progressive illness.


  • Improve skills in pain assessment and management
  • Improve skills in other palliative and supportive medicine issues such as dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, bowel obstruction, constipation, delirium, confusion
  • Observe and participate in numerous patient and family conferences
  • Improve skills in discussing difficult medical problems and prognoses including advanced directives, CPR and artificial hydration and nutrition in palliative medicine
  • Develop an understanding of hospice and the role it may play in the care of the terminally ill

Communication and interpersonal skills
Students are expected to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that enable them to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, families, and other member of health care teams.

Objective: Develop communication skills in end of life care

Students are expected to demonstrate behaviors reflecting a commitment to continuous professional development, ethical practice, an understanding and sensitivity to diversity and fiduciary responsible attitude towards their patients, their profession, and society.

Practice-based learning
Students are expected to be able to use scientific methods and evidence to investigate, evaluate and improve their patient care practices.


  • Read “Principals of analgesic use in the treatment of acute pain and cancer related pain”
  • Read specific medical articles pertaining to palliative medicine issues. This includes methadone use for pain management. Many of these are available in the department office file and library

Systems-based practice
Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the contexts and systems in which health care is provided, and demonstrate the ability to apply this knowledge to improve and optimize health care.

Objective: Understand logistics of hospice appropriateness, eligibility and description of hospice provided care.

Contact us

Megan Longenberger, BS
Medical Education Coordinator