A practice-based educational pathway has been found to improve nurses’ confidence in delivering end-of-life care to patients.
The pathway involved assigning a mentor from a specialist palliative care team to community and district nurses from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
The scheme focused on four care areas: communication skills; advanced care planning; assessment and care planning; and symptom management, maintaining comfort and wellbeing.
Nurses taking part in the Northumbria University study said that their main concerns with regards to palliative care was communication, but reported that their concerns eased during the project due to exchanges with experienced colleagues.
Each nurse created their own development plan, which included formal and informal education, following a training needs analysis.
The study findings, which were published in the journal Primary Health Care, showed that participants’ confidence with regards to communication skills and symptom management improved.
It was also found that developing mentoring and support networks between community services and end-of-life care specialists could be a powerful approach to educating community nurses.
The study authors recommend a larger study to examine the duration of increased confidence and the extent of knowledge and skills gained. They also said nurses and their managers should lobby their local organisations for support in setting up similar training initiatives.
They stated: “Such practice-based education may offer a powerful and convenient approach to EoLC education for community staff.”
- Read the full paper: End of life care: an educational pathway for community nurses
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