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Hospice Fellowships - Getting prepared

Discussion in 'Hospice and Palliative Medicine' started by Aloha Kid, May 5, 2007.

  1. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2001
    There seems to be a handful of us who are in residency and considering a hospice fellowship. We may be in different training programs but all seem to have strong interests and probably personal reasons for considering fellowship training. My understanding is that fellowships are not ultra competetive, but the specialty is rather new, without an overwhelming interest for the obvious reasons.

    The last thing I want to do is send in an application that is deemed marginal or unfit. Of course, there isn't much information out there to guide an applicant as to exactly what sort of activities he/she should be engaged in or what activities he/she should have accomplished.

    For those trained in fellowship, or who have some experience - What do program directors look for in applicants? What sort of activities should we be engaged in? Any help would be appreciated.

    Here are some things I've heard of so far that helps

    1. Being involved with your hospital bioethics committee.
    2. Having strong reasons for doing hospice
    3. Research (is a bonus especially in a field that needs it but seems difficult to do and fund.)
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  3. signomi

    signomi Amongst the Gravelings 2+ Year Member

    Late response here, but I am starting a PCM/Hospice fellowship in 2 weeks.
    From my experience...
    I received an interview every place I applied, including "top" programs. As I have been a practicing physician for a couple years, I was technically at a disadvantage. I did not have an LOR from a PCM/Hospice MD...heck my program didn't even have a single one, they dropped it years ago as it was a money loser. I had strong LORs from my old PD and some colleagues. So, no PCM letter isn't the kiss of death. You need strong letters speaking to your abilities and compassion.

    You will have to do research as a fellow, so you need a good research track record (don't all residencies require some scholarly activity anyway?). I had research in drugs and the elderly...which fits in well with PCM. You would be surprised what kind of research is technically not PCM, but is relevant to PCM and therefore applicable. Anything that can be tangentially tied to PCM is pretty good.

    I think the big thing outside decent letters and board scores is a strong PS. You need to speak to why PCM. This is true for every fellowship though. They want to know why this specialty and what you will bring. My PS was the topic of most of my interviews...and you will be asked by every single interviewer, "why PCM?"

    Other nice things to have: experience with hospice patients, maybe awards/nominations that speak to your compassion and interpersonal skills, community involvement (ie MOW, hospice, etc).

    I had other things that weighed in my favor as well, but this should give my take on your questions.
  4. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2001
    Thanks great advice.
  5. Vasity

    Vasity 2+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Even though you are dealing with a hard training program, I think if you are dedicated in your field that you can accomplish anything, I being a physcologist am not part of this kind of treatment exactly. But I do treat patients on a more personal level.
  6. HospiceMD


    Mar 9, 2008
    I have graduated from a Family Medicine Residency and did a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship in San Diego. Several words of advice. Make sure you do a rotation in Hospice and Palliative Care prior to applying. If there are no rotations, such as in my case when I was a resident, find a geriatric attending that will sponsor a self made rotation (set up as an elective) or go to an off site location. Also, have a plan as to what you want to do with the education. If you can't answer that question that means you don't know exactly why you are going into the field and they will pick up on that. To be honest, research is optional. They really look at the whole applicant rather then just academics, although this also depends on where you are applying. Some programs are more academic and some are more pyschosocially oriented.
  7. Museless

    Museless Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Please forgive the asinine question, but can you elaborate on this? I mean, what else would someone do with a year or two of fellowship education in hospice med but be a hospice doc?
  8. argentina09

    argentina09 5+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Hi Signomi:
    I am applying now to PCM...I would like to ask you where are you doing your fellowship and if I might have your email, please son you can tell me more about your experience.


  9. It sound like Signomi may have done a different fellowship. This is from the salary thread.

  10. Hospitalist


    May 18, 2009
    Does anyone know of any Hospice/Palliative care fellowship program that offers part-time slots. Thanks.
  11. signomi

    signomi Amongst the Gravelings 2+ Year Member

    I never saw the above questions directed to me as I never came back to this thread...oops.
    I am now working as a Hospice Medical Director and am Board Certified in H&PM.

    I do not know of PT fellowships but many hospices are willing to hire you and train you for 2 years to qualify for the exam (before 2012 when fellowship will be required). I know Lifepath in Tampa, FL was one. You might want to ask some of the two year programs if they would be willing to do it 2 years PT clinical in lieu of the second year of research. I know one was U of Pitt. Can't hurt to ask, but you will have to do the equivalent of one full year to qualify for the Boards.

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