April 22, 2010 | | Comments 2
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Death before life, a new way of teaching nurses

Nurse educators are taking a new approach to help nurses understand and feel competent in end-of-life care. How you ask? By simulating death that is.

Kim Leighton, PhD, RN, CNE, and Jenna Dubas, MSN, RN, are studying this approach as a way to successfully teach nurses about end-of-life care. The study, published in Clinical Simulation in Nursing, looked at how nursing students and practicing nurses could increase self-efficacy and competency levels for end-of-life care. (Click here to read the abstract. Full text requires a log-in.)

However, this technique poses a challenge: not all nursing programs can provide opportunities to participate in such care. Instead, the authors studied the use of patient simulation end-of-life scenarios.

Many nurses believe that end-of-life care should be its own book, and not just a blurb at the end of a chapter.

How do you feel? Were you trained for end-of-life care? If you had the chance to take a simulated class such as this or more education on the subject, would you? What are other ways to train students and staff?

Source: Clinical Simulation in Nursing

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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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  1. I believe the authors have discovered a promising way to teach end of life care. I worked as a home care aide when I was in nursing school and my patient was terminal. It was great to experience life and end of life care with her.It did not prepare me totally for responsibilities that a licensed nurse would have with a patient at end of life but I did not receive end of life care in my nursing program.

  2. End of life care is equally important as infant care, but it is seldom addressed due to lack of education and emotional barriers. Patient death is seen as a crisis and a failure to nurses which is extremely stressful. If they do not get the education and the emotional support they need, they could leave their career in search of a more rewarding one. At Phoenix Childrens Hospital, we offer bereavement education and support groups to staff during times of high death rate or death of a child who had been with us a long time. For new staff, the concept of a simulation lab would be great! It is already being used for code situations and labor and delivery. I think end of life education can help staff deal with the whole death process so they can provide the best care, support families and feel satisfaction in this part of their job.

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