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Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Perception of End-of-Life Care Education Placement in the Nursing Curriculum

Li, Jing MSN, RN; Smothers, Angel DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CHPN; Fang, Wei PhD; Borland, Michelle DNP, RN, CNE

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: October 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p E12–E18
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000533
Online-Only Articles
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Nursing students, who have been receiving the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Core training throughout their Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, have a unique perspective of the benefits of this training. In addition, they have insight as to where an online ELNEC module series specifically for undergraduate nursing students would best be integrated within the curriculum. This study used a mixed methods strategy to evaluate students’ opinions on the placement of end-of-life care education within the curriculum and their experience of having received ELNEC training previously throughout their program. Senior-level nursing student opinions on the placement of the ELNEC modules within the curriculum were equally divided, with one-third suggesting placement at the sophomore level, one-third suggesting placement at the junior level, and one-third suggesting placement at the senior level. Students also offered a recommendation for an end-of-life care simulation integration into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum. Students who have been receiving ELNEC training integrated throughout the curriculum reported feeling comfortable with providing end-of-life care after graduation. Themes extracted from students’ suggestions on improving end-of-life care education were as follows: (1) The quality and consistency of instruction needs to be enhanced, (2) palliative care education should be delivered using various methods, and (3) methods to assess education on palliative care should be improved. Students reported that ELNEC training helped them to gain insight into the key elements in palliative care, to understand the differences and similarities between palliative care and hospice, and to understand the nurse’s role in palliative care and hospice.

Jing Li, MSN, RN, is nursing lecturer, School of Pharmaceutical Engineering & Life Science, School of Nursing Changzhou University, China.

Angel Smothers, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CHPN, is certified faith community nurse, certified hospice and palliative care nurse, and clinical assistant professor, West Virginia University School of Nursing, Morgantown.

Wei Fang, PhD, is statistical analyst, West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, Erma Byrd Biomedical Research Center, and West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Morgantown, WV.

Michelle Borland, DNP, RN, CNE, is assistant professor, West Virginia University School of Nursing, Morgantown.

Address correspondence to Angel Smothers, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, West Virginia University School of Nursing, 64 Medical Center Dr, Morgantown, WV 26506 (asmothers@hsc.wvu.edu).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Online date: March 20, 2019

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.