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Evaluating an Initiative to Promote Entry-Level Competence in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Registered Nurses in Canada

Rietze, Lori L., MSc, BScN, RN; Tschanz, Coby L., MN, BN, RN; Richardson, Holly R.L., PhD, MA, BScN, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: December 2018 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 568–574
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000502
Global Exemplar Series

Numerous competency statements have been developed for the purpose of guiding nurse educators and clinicians. Rarely, though, are there evaluations of the use of these competency statements in practice. In this cross-sectional descriptive study, nurse educators were surveyed to determine how the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) Palliative and End-of-Life Care Entry-to-Practice Competencies and Indicators are used in schools of nursing in Canada. Twenty-four respondents consented to participating in this study. Findings supported that some version of palliative and end-of-life care (PEOLC) education was offered at each school of nursing in Canada, and it was most commonly threaded throughout existing undergraduate courses. Data also suggested that if nurse educators were interested in PEOLC and had existing knowledge or expertise in PEOLC, the CASN Palliative and End-of-Life Care competency document was used to integrate content into curricula. This study provides some initial insights into the use of the CASN Palliative and End-of-Life Care competency document in Canadian schools of nursing. Implications for additional research, policy, education, and practice are discussed.

Lori L. Rietze, MSc, BScN, RN, is assistant professor, School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

Coby L. Tschanz, MN, BN, RN, is associate teaching professor, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Holly R. L. Richardson, PhD, MA, BScN, RN, is assistant professor, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Address correspondence to Holly R. L. Richardson, PhD, MA, BScN, RN, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, 5869 University Ave, PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2 (

The authors report financial and nonfinancial support from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) during the conduct of the study. Administrative and technical support was received from CASN for this study. CASN currently provides administrative support to the Palliative and End-of-Life Care Educators Interest Group, of which the authors are members and for which they have paid membership fees. The aforementioned support is considered service of membership. H.R.L.R. and C.L.T. also received compensation from CASN in June 2016 for the development and delivery of a palliative care webinar series. H.R.L.R. was a member of the advisory committee involved in the development of the CASN competency document that is the focus of this research.

This study was approved by the Ethics Boards of the University of Victoria and Laurentian University. Dalhousie University waived the ethics review process based on the nature of the research (deemed to be program evaluation).

© 2018 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.