On the ground floor looking up-Managing trainees' uncertainty at the end of life
Recent US healthcare policy changes set the stage for integrating palliative and end-of-life care into routine medicine. However, these changes may not affect the daily practice of medical trainees-fellows, residents, and medical students-who as front-line care providers are not always equipped with the skills needed to treat terminally ill patients. We review evidence on trainees' discomfort with end-of-life care and highlight limitations of recent policy changes. Key barriers to proficiency include inadequate conversational training, prognostic uncertainty, and unfamiliarity with hospice and palliative care. Educator-, accreditor-, and policy-level interventions may improve trainees' experience caring for seriously ill patients.