Interdisciplinary discussions on palliative care among university students in Spain: giving voice to the social debate
Background University students are the future professionals who will influence society. It is thus essential to improve students' understanding of palliative care (PC), especially those in the non-health field, to generate and encourage propitious opinions about PC. This study describes the perceptions of PC among university students from different disciplines. Method Qualitative exploratory study using virtual focus groups (FGs) and design thinking (DT) approach. An intentional sample of students from various disciplines, universities and cities from Spain were selected. Numerous researchers from different fields were involved in the discussion of the final thematic analysis. Results Four themes and seven subthemes were found: i) Students have an ambiguous understanding about PC; ii) PC is not a common issue for non-health students; ii) Students see PC as an important and necessary field; iii) Students build counter-narratives against PC myths, demonstrating PC brings key benefits into people's lives; iv) PC is a synonym of death. Conclusion Despite the fact that students do not know much about PC, the topic easily arouses reflection and positive discussion. Through the conversations they find positive values and arguments against misunderstand- ing. Students from different disciplines could be the target of innovative educational initia- tives and the social debate on PC.