Background Following recruitment of a large number of new nurses to a district general hospital, it was identified that this group of staff lacked confidence when having conversations with, and caring for, dying patients. Recognising the challenge of transitioning from student to autonomous practitioner, a Preceptorship programme was in place, and this offered a forum to review end-of-life training needs.
Methods In collaboration with the Preceptorship Programme, the Specialist palliative care team have introduced an interactive study day, ‘An introduction to end-of-life care’ which focused on core communication skills and care of the dying.
Results Two successful study days have been delivered to 33 learners. The agenda, set by attendees of the day, mirrored the proposed learning outcomes. The sessions were well evaluated (mean 9.4/10). Pre- and Post-course confidence levels showed improvement: confidence to have an open and sensitive conversation with a dying person (4.5/10 to 8/10), confidence to develop a plan for care for a dying person (4.5/10 to 7.5/10), confidence to facilitate a Rapid End of Life Transfer (4/10 to 8/10). Feedback showed that learners valued the interactive group activities and intend to use the ‘Simple Skills Secrets’ model of communication in their clinical work.
Conclusions These vibrant training days stimulated lively discussion throughout the day, allowing staff to explore their anxieties about caring for those approaching the end of their lives and providing the opportunity to dispel myths about end-of-life care. The opportunity for preceptee nurses to meet the palliative care team has enhanced clinical relationships and joint working back on the ward. Further learning needs were identified and staff signposted to other end of life training opportunities.
It is proposed that this training is included in the preceptee programme for all new adult nurses within the trust, with roll-out to other allied health care professionals.
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