In 2004, an EAPC taskforce on palliative nurse education presented a set of guidelines for the preparation of nurses for practice in palliative care and subsequently published ( De Vlieger et al, 2004). The document considered the academic and clinical preparation of nurses based on the then agreed Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 framework, from generalist to specialist. In addition, indicators of capacity to practice were given based on the level of educational attainment based on clinical tasks. Versions of the document were translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese and is currently available on the EAPC website.
Although at the time, there was an indication that the document was useful, no systematic evidence of its impact or dispersion through the EU was undertaken and evidence for its use is anaecdotal. In the last 10 years since its publication, there have been considerable national and international developments in relation to education, not only by EAPC, but by member associations, and academic providers. Taskforces on Medical Education, Social Work, Psychology and Spiritual Care have all looked to address training and education needs but a gap remains in this from a nursing perspective ( possibly the largest professional group providing palliative care ) at this time. Nurses in some countries are increasingly exposed to higher education options and professional development roles such as clinical nurse specialist. The idea of competency-based assessment of skills and aptitudes in relation to palliative care nursing has also become more evident since the original work was undertaken.
This project is designed to gain a better understanding of the impact of the original 2004 guideline document for palliative care nursing in Europe Linked in to the work of the EAPC Atlas, a survey of member associations will be undertaken with a focus on evidence and examples of use, faciliators and barriers to its use at that time and current perceived needs in palliative nursing education.
It is then proposed to revise the 2004 document to bring this into line with contemporary national and international development in palliative care nursing.
A steering committee will lead the project, supported by Taskforce team members representing EU palliative nursing practitioners and educators. An International Advisory Group will be convened to comment on drafts of the revised document in light of their own national development and international lens on nursing practice and education.
This project will contribute to the work of the education stream of EAPC work and help to clarify the landscape for education and training for nurses to inform future initiatives for member associations and EAPC itself.