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Palliative Care Education in Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum in Italy

Mastroianni, Chiara, PhD, MSc, RN; Ramon Codina, Mireia, RN; D’Angelo, Daniela, PhD, MSc, RN; Petitti, Tommasangelo, SD, MSc, MD; Latina, Roberto, PhD, MScN, RN; Casale, Giuseppe, PhD, MD; Turrziani, Adriana, MD; Piredda, Michela, PhD, MSN, RN; de Marinis, Maria Grazia, MEd, MSN, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: February 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 96–103
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000515
Global Exemplar Series

Worldwide, more than 19 million people require palliative care because of an advanced stage of disease. Undergraduate nursing education should include palliative care as the European consensus suggests. In 2004, the European Society of Palliative Care issued a guide for the development of palliative nurse education in Europe. This study aims to describe the extension and characteristics of palliative care education within all of the nursing degree curricula in Italy, as well as to what extent their topics match the European Society of Palliative Care guide. A descriptive study was conducted through the universities web pages. For each degree, the curricula of the academic years from 2010 to 2014 were analyzed. Sixty percent of the curricula had formal education in palliative care, heterogeneously distributed in different courses and provided few compulsory and mandatory teaching hours. Data on clinical training suggested that education was essentially theoretical, with poor theory and practice integration. The increasing need for palliative care in different settings corresponds to increasing attention to nursing education in palliative care from the undergraduate level. The inclusion of palliative care teaching in universities at all levels of education and research development represent the future challenges for this discipline.

Chiara Mastroianni, PhD, MSc, RN, is education department coordinator, Antea Palliative Care Centre, Rome Italy.

Mireia Ramon Codina, RN, is master student, Università Cattolica del S. Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Daniela D’Angelo, PhD, MSc, RN, is research fellow in nursing, Research Unit Nursing Science, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.

Tommasangelo Petitti, SD, MSc, MD, is assistant professor, Head of Hygiene Statistics and Public Health Research Unit, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, and chief of medical staff, Presidio Centro Sud, IRCSS Fondazione don Gnocchi.

Roberto Latina, RN, MScN, PhD, is director of Master degree, Nursing Science and Midwifery, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Giuseppe Casale, PhD, MD, is health and scientific coordinator, Antea Palliative Care Centre, Rome, Italy.

Adriana Turrziani, MD, is assistant professor, Radiotherapy, Catholic University in Rome, Italy.

Michela Piredda, PhD, MSc, RN, is assistant professor, Research Unit Nursing Science, Campus Bio-Medico di Roma University, Rome, Italy.

Maria Grazia de Marinis, MEd, MSN, RN, is professor, Research Unit Nursing Science, Campus Bio-Medico di Roma University, Rome, Italy.

Address correspondence to Chiara Mastroianni, PhD, MSc, RN, Antea Palliative Care Centre, P.zza S. Maria della Pietà, 5 00135 Rome, Italy (

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.