Student nurses' knowledge of palliative care: evaluating an education module

Arber, Anne (2001) Student nurses' knowledge of palliative care: evaluating an education module. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 7(12), pp. 597-603. ISSN (print) 1357-6321


There is evidence that education in palliative care in the UK is somewhat patchy and that this important area of health care should be given a greater emphasis in the nursing curriculum. This article describes an evaluation of a palliative care module taken by a group of third year student nurses. The effect of the module was evaluated using the palliative care quiz for nursing (PCQN), administered at the beginning and at the end of the module. The results demonstrate that the students significantly increased their understanding of aspects of pain and symptom control. In particular, they became knowledgeable about adjuvant therapies and opioid use. In contrast to previous studies, the students rejected the 'fear of addiction' associated with opioid use. Deficits in knowledge included side-effects of codeine, use of sedation and the use of placebos. The results support the need to develop a compulsory module in palliative care that is formally assessed and includes a palliative care placement. This would enable comprehensive and systematic coverage of palliative care in the undergraduate nursing curriculum.

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