Cincinnati—A course of study on "Death and Dying" is part of the
Introduction to Clinical Practice classes at the University of
Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. The course consists of three
three-hour sessions at one week intervals (three Tuesdays), starting in
the first week of the first year of medical school classes.
Macpherson, MD, professor emeritus of pathology and laboratory medicine
instructs the class and says, "I ask them if they are comfortable with
the idea that the 180 people in the room are all going to die, sooner
or later, and that all of the students will also die." He says, "The
silence resulting from this statement is striking, and moving."
day there is a general discussion for the whole class followed by small
group discussions for about one hour. The grade is based on attendance
and participation in the small group discussions plus completing the
questionnaire and writing an essay about some aspect of death, dying,
or grieving. Macpherson says, "We confirmed that only 17 students had
ever discussed death and grieving with their families." Some essays
from the class have been published in Must I think about death? Now? and the second edition will be published before the end of this year.
has also been a very successful course in alerting the students to the
humanitarian angle of patient care. According to Macpherson, "It has
also been helpful in indicating to them that if one of their fellow
students has had a loss of any sort, it is more important to listen
sympathetically than learn what to say."