Improving End-of-Life Care Knowledge Among Senior Baccalaureate Nursing Students

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Abstract

Objective:

It is imperative that nurses are proficient and comfortable providing care to patients at the end of life. Recent studies show that nurses’ knowledge of end-of-life care is less than optimal. Effective, evidence-based methods to infuse palliative and end-of-life care education into the undergraduate nursing curriculum are needed.

Methods:

A descriptive pre- and postassessment evaluating senior nursing students’ acquisition of knowledge on end-of-life care after attending the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) core course was conducted. The course evaluation included qualitative statements.

Results:

Before the ELNEC course, one-third of the students had cared for a dying patient during clinical rotations, yet 85% reported they had not received adequate training in end-of-life care. Posttest questions related to palliative care, symptom management, communication, and grief indicated that students acquired significant knowledge after participating in the ELNEC course (P < .05).

Conclusion:

The ELNEC core course is an effective way to improve nursing students’ knowledge of palliative and end-of-life care.

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