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26 Showing you care in Palliative Care: the art of communication for nursing students enhanced through online learning
  1. Geraldine Purcell and
  2. Sara Kennedy
  1. South East Technological University


Background Research highlights that nursing students report feelings of unpreparedness when communicating with patients receiving palliative care and have expressed desire for more structured training and education around difficult situations at end-of-life (Rotter & Braband 2020 and Venkatasalu et al 2015). Successful completion of an Educational Fellowship, by the author, facilitated development of an online-learning resource for undergraduate nursing students. An interactive online resource utilising the latest technology, innovation and interactivity, aimed at improving and achieving undergraduate nursing student competencies, regarding communication in palliative care, was created.

Methods The aims of the study were to explore whether online learning meets the students’ need in terms of improving confidence, skills, knowledge and understanding when communicating with patients in receipt of palliative care. In addition, it aimed to identify if the student would like additional education via the online learning approach in the area of Palliative Care. Following ethical approval nursing students were invited to review the resource, and upon completion, undertake a survey. Likert scale questions were utilised with opportunity to provide additional qualitative responses which were thematically analysed.

Results Results indicate a positive response to the resource, enhancing student learning. 96% of respondents found it useful to extremely useful, while all reported feeling comfortable exploring this content, online, at their own pace. This approach to teaching and learning enhanced nursing students’ confidence when communicating with a patient receiving Palliative Care. 90% would recommend this resource as a way of improving skills in in the area of communication in Palliative Care, assisting them while on clinical placement.

Conclusion Students benefited significantly to this online approach to learning which supports a sustainable educational approach that is relevant to palliative care practice. The results are supportive in building momentum to further grow and develop sustainable Palliative Care skills for undergraduate nursing students.

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