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Nurses spend more time with patients who are facing the end of life than any other member of the health care team. Yet, studies have shown that many nurses feel inadequately prepared to provide the comprehensive care so important at the end of life.
Ellen D’Errico, PhD, RN, assistant professor, School of Nursing, recently attended a two-day course on end-of-life care held in Pasadena, California. The City of Hope Cancer Center and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing received a 4-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to conduct this training program.
The program titled “End-of-life nursing education consortium—graduate curriculum: promoting palliative care in advanced practice nursing” is for nurses who provide education for graduate nursing students.
The principal goal of the training program is to provide information on end-of-life care and resources to integrate end-of-life content into graduate nursing programs. Course content was presented in several participatory formats including lecture, open forum discussion, small group activities, and training sessions.
“The program was so inspiring,” says Dr. D’Errico. “The nursing profession has been instrumental in promoting state-of-the-art knowledge about providing expert and compassionate end-of-life care. Progress has been made, but we still have much to accomplish to insure every human being is properly cared for at the end of life. It is an essential nursing responsibility.”
The training program was conducted by a distinguished faculty of researchers, educators, authors, and leaders in the field of palliative care. Topic areas included roles of the advanced practice nurse in end-of-life care; pain and symptom assessment and management; ethical issues; communication; loss, grief, and bereavement; final hours of life; and achieving quality palliative care.
Dr. D’Errico was one of 79 participants competitively selected from graduate nursing faculty from across the United States to attend this training program.
By Dustin Jones, MA