IU School of Medicine



This elective will provide medical students experience with a busy palliative care consult service at the VA Medical. Students will learn about: 1. pain assessment and management 2. assessment and management of non-pain symptoms 3. goals of care, advance care planning and how to conduct family meetings 4. effective use of an interdisciplinary team to care for patients and families. Responsibilities during the elective include providing palliative care consultation and making hospital rounds with a multidisciplinary palliative care team (social worker, chaplain, nurse, and physician). There may also be an opportunity to see patients in the outpatient setting as well. Students will learn about ethical and legal issues related to life-threatening illness as well as the importance of self-care and community engagement.

Elective Details:

Primary Contact for Add/Drops: Lynn Meyer, VA Palliative Medicine Coordinator (lynn.meyer@va.gov)

Director: Wendy Siemion, M.D.

Campus: Indianapolis

Location: Roudebush VA Medical Center (Indianapolis)

Learning Objectives

  • 1) Recognize the value of expert symptom management as well as emotional, social, and spiritual support in care of seriously ill patients and their families (SBP2) 2) Demonstrate history and physical skills with special focuses on symptom evaluation and use of skills to prognosticate in serious illness (PC1) 3) Demonstrate communication skills integral to the support of seriously ill patients, goals of care discussions, and family meetings (ISC2) 4) Apply an interdisciplinary approach to care of seriously ill patients (SBP1) 5) Describe the role of hospice in both the home and hospital setting (SBP1)


  • Clinical Performance Evaluation Form; (Clinical Observation, Patient presentation)

Enrollment Information

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th year; Completion of Internal Medicine Clerkship

Availability with Max Students per Month:


Duty Hours: 40 hours / Week (typically 0800-1600, M-F).

Time Distribution: 95% Clinical; 5% Lecture/Seminar

Elective Type Category: CP - Clinical Practice

Notes and Enrollment Information:

Add/Drop Contact Person: Lynn Meyer, VA Palliative Medicine Coordinator (lynn.meyer@va.gov) Contact Lynn Meyer: Lynn.Meyer@VA.gov, or Dr. Siemion wsiemion@iu.edu, 317-988-9424

Third Year Elective? Yes

Interprofessional Skills and Service Learning

Interprofessional Collaborative Skills: Yes

Skills Description: Given the multidisciplinary nature of palliative care, there will be ample opportunity to collaborate with other non-physician professionals. The student will be encouraged to spend at least an afternoon with the chaplain, the social worker, and ideally the psychologist to observe an assessment.

Service Learning Included: None