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Being there: protocol for a scoping review of the medical education literature on grief support training for medical professionals
  1. Sophie Soklaridis1,2,3,
  2. Genevieve Ferguson1,
  3. Sarah Bonato1,
  4. Riley Saikaly1,
  5. Pamela J Mosher1,2
  1. 1 Office of Education, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Departments of Psychiatry and Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Cross-Appointed Scientist, Wilson Centre, University Health Network and Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sophie Soklaridis; Sophie.Soklaridis{at}


Introduction Medical trainees and professionals do not perceive that they are adequately taught the skills to address issues of grief with their patients. Atypical grief responses can prolong suffering, interrupt normal activities and lead to increased morbidity and mortality. Grief training can help physicians cope with feelings about and responses to suffering, loss and death in a way that improves both physician and patient/family wellness. This scoping review will describe the current landscape of grief training worldwide in medical school and residency and in continuing professional development in the disciplines of paediatrics, family medicine and psychiatry. The ultimate goal is to help physicians support patients experiencing grief.

Methods and analysis The study design has been adapted from Arksey and O’Malley’s review methodology. We will work with an information specialist who will run searches in six multidisciplinary databases. To supplement the search, we will scan the reference lists of included studies. Two levels of screening will take place: a title and abstract review for articles that fit predefined criteria and a full-text review of articles that meet those criteria. To be included in the review, articles must report on grief training for medical residents and professionals in the fields of paediatrics, family medicine and psychiatry. Two investigators will review each article and extract data.

Ethics and dissemination Research ethics approval is not required for this review. We plan to share the findings through national and international medical education conferences and to publish the results in a peer-reviewed academic journal. We have the support of several directors of medical education at our institution who are interested in the growing focus on humanism in medical education as a way of decreasing burnout among medical students, residents and faculty.

  • grief
  • psychiatry
  • family medicine

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  • Contributors SS led the production, conceptualisation and writing of this scoping review manuscript. GF was involved in all aspects of the scoping review and participated in the manuscript preparation. RS provided feedback on the background, methodology and manuscript preparation. PJM contributed to the conceptualisation of this work and the manuscript preparation. SB developed the search strategy, conducted the search and provided feedback on the scoping review methodology. All authors give approval for the publishing of this protocol manuscript.

  • Funding The authors’ work is supported in part by the Medical Psychiatry Alliance, a collaborative health partnership of the University of Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Hospital for Sick Children, Trillium Health Partners, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and an anonymous donor.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study did not require ethics review, because it only included data from publicly available materials.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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