Background In 2021 our hospice in partnership with our local university, introduced a novel, extra-curricular scholarship in palliative and end of life care (PEoLC) for pre-registration nursing students. This was in partial response to widespread calls (Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care, 2021; Nursing & Midwifery Council. Future nurse: Standards of proficiency for registered nurses [Internet] 2018, updated 2023; All-Party Parliamentary Group Hospice and End of Life Care. The Lasting Impact of COVID-19 on death, dying and bereavement. 2023; Royal College of Nursing. Investing in patient safety and outcomes: health and care nursing workforce and supply in England [Internet], 2023; Yoong, Wang, Seah, et al. Nurse Educ Pract. 2023; 69: 1–38) for collaborative and innovative action aimed at better preparing the current and future health and care workforce as providers of competent, person-centred, compassionate PEoLC whenever and wherever this is required.
Aim To offer a funded extra-curricula professional development opportunity to final year nursing students with an interest in PEoLC, aimed at enhancing their confidence, knowledge, skills, and employability prospects in PEoLC.
Methods April 2021 to date: co-design of proposal and selection criteria to achieve formal scholarship approval; marketing and press releases; shortlisting and interviews; co-mentorship of awardees by PEoLC specialist and nurse academic, menu of options; networking and development opportunities; formal recognition of scholarship award at annual Faculty student prize-giving; interim and final student evaluations; bi-annual reporting to key stakeholders.
Results Each of the eight awardees to date has positively evaluated their experience of this scholarship. For example, “Being awarded the scholarship has felt like the biggest privilege. It has opened many channels and enabled new connections with unique professionals who share my passion for reducing inequalities in EOL care to be formed.” Two of the first three scholarship students accepted newly qualified posts in community palliative care settings. This scholarship has also drawn wider attention to the importance of compassionate, person-centred PEoLC as an integral aspect of nursing practice.
Conclusion This unique scholarship has been found to enhance the confidence, professional development, and employment prospects for award winners as intended. It has also drawn wider attention to the importance of PEoLC and opened new opportunities for preparing the future nursing workforce locally through our collaborative ventures with the university.
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