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Does post-registration palliative care education for nurses improve practice? A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Angela Thavaraj, Karen Gillett

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-564
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019

King's Authors


AIMS: We aimed to answer the question: what is the evidence that post-registration palliative care education for nurses improves practice? BACKGROUND: The 2008 End of Life Care Strategy emphasised the need for a workforce equipped to provide high-quality end-of-life care for patients and their families. As registered nurses are the healthcare professionals spending most time with patients and families at the end of life, associated policy documents stress the importance of educating nurses to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide effective care. Despite education being a consistent recommendation, the ability of education to influence nursing practice is uncertain. METHODS: We undertook a systematic review of literature using Joanna Briggs Institute Methodology for Mixed Methods by searching the Medline, Embase and CINAHL databases between January 2006 and December 2018. FINDINGS: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria, seven contained quantitative data. Six demonstrated improvements in outcome measures, but not all results were statistically significant. Most quantitative data related to self-reported measures of confidence. Six studies contained qualitative findings that were categorised into themes: confidence, practice change, skills and proactivity. CONCLUSION: Little research exists exploring the impact of post-registration palliative care education for nurses. Existing outcome measures do not clearly demonstrate changes to end-of-life practice. Research is suggested to establish links between self-reported confidence and improvements to practice. Evaluation of the impact on practice should be an integral component of end-of-life education initiatives.

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