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Frequently asked questions about the Palliative Care MSc.

Does the multi-professional approach make a difference to the learning experience on the MSc, Diploma and Certificate?

It has been increasingly argued that sound palliative care requires a multi-professional team approach, recognising that all health and social care professionals and, importantly, volunteers have vital roles to play in the care of patients and their families. It is only through a team approach that it becomes possible to fully assess patients' and their families' needs, supervise the application of treatment decisions, and anticipate and support the dying and grieving process. 

We strongly believe that palliative care courses should reflect that. Learning alongside other health and social care professionals allows students to explore similarities and differences in roles, skills, knowledge and ideologies and to recognise the complementary skills and resources of different provisions. Students are also placed in a position whereby they can learn to acknowledge parity of esteem of their respective contributions to the care of patients and their carers. Lastly, we feel the multi-professional approach provides greater scope for open communication between all members of the group. This alleviates future hesitancy of single disciplines sharing knowledge with other professionals and non-professionals.

I want to attend on a part-time basis over two years. What is the best way of organising my time?

If you wish to attend the MSc on a part-time basis, we suggest you complete four modules in your first year (a combination of core and optional modules). With two modules to complete in your second year you will have much more time to devote to your research project. There are a number of different combinations for choosing modules and we suggest you discuss this with the Course Co-ordinator. 

If you wish to attend the Diploma part-time you may wish to attend three modules per year (a combination of core and optional modules).

What support will you offer me during my studies?

Every student will be allocated a tutor at the beginning of the course. Tutors are there to help you with your options, check how you are doing, as well as offer general advice where necessary.

Are students involved in planning the course?

Each year we will ask students to elect colleagues (one full and one part-time) to be represented on the MSc, Diploma and Certificate Course Steering Group which meets several times throughout the year. Here important issues relating to the content and running of the courses are discussed and these students are actively encouraged to share their views. Furthermore, we want to know what students feel about all our teaching. We therefore evaluate each teaching module to find out where improvements are necessary.

What library facilities are available to students attending the MSc?

The Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Medicine library based in the Weston Education Centre has around 10,000 books and 500 current periodicals on clinical medicine and dentistry; health service matters; sciences and professions associated with medicine and dentistry. The Library maintains a collection of books, journals and other learning materials contributing to the educational programmes, clinical work and research of Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Medicine. It has clinical collections to support undergraduate courses in medicine and dentistry, and postgraduate material for those undertaking further study. The collection has strengths in the areas of gastroenterology, liver disease, diabetes, obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics and the history of medicine but also covers topics such as palliative care, public health, health care policy, and medical audit. The Library also houses a historical collection of medical books providing a useful background to current medical research.

The library within the Education Centre at St. Christopher's Hospice houses a multi-disciplinary collection of material on all aspects of palliative care, death, dying and bereavement. This includes over 3,000 books, 40 journals, individual reprints and ephemeral material. A variety of indexing tools are also available, including Palliative Care Index (in print form) and Medline on CD-ROM.

I am very interested in the MSc, Diploma and Certificate but may need financial assistance. Can you recommend any sources of funding for this programme?

Help the Hospices have been able to provide a bursary to contribute toward tuition fees for United Kingdom students with a proven interest in palliative care. Travelling scholarships may also be available through the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care. We recommend overseas students seeking financial support contact their nearest British Council office, which has local details of available grants. Alternatively, funding may be available through your employer. Details for scholarships can be found on our scholarships information . Scholarship information is also available on the main King's College London webpages.

I don’t live near King’s College and travelling to and from home each day to attend classes is out of the question. Is there local accommodation near King’s and St. Christopher’s whilst the modules are being taught?

A number of quality Bed and Breakfast (B&B) facilities are within minutes of St. Christopher's Hospice and charge very reasonable rates. Students who do not live within a reasonable distance of King's and St. Christopher's as well as those students from overseas frequently make use of them. More permanent accommodation for overseas students can be organised through the King's College Accommodation Office.

I have caring and/or clinical commitments that mean I need to study flexibly, and I may need an interruption of studies for maternity/paternity leave for example.  What support is available to students?

We recognise that many of our students have other commitments.   In order to support these students we designed our masters programme to give three entry levels  (PG Cert, Diploma and MSc).  This enables students, particularly those with caring commitments, to maintain a good work/life balance and progress their careers appropriately as they wish.  Every student is assigned a personal tutor to provide pastoral support and if an interruption (a break of studies) is required, for example for maternity/paternity leave, we have formal systems in place to support this. No fees are payable during the period of interruption.  Personal  tutors support students when they are ready to return, and continue to provide transitional support when the student returns to complete their programme of study. 

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