Undoubtedly, the need to provide clinically relevant, focused and substantive education programmes to meet the challenges of palliative care practice remains high on the agenda for educators in the field. The proliferation of research activity in this field is supplemented by the increasing number of courses, both vocational and academic. Education initiatives are taking place in a multiplicity of languages that share some common threads of palliative care: clinical competence, shared learning, partnership, the ability to function effectively within a multidisciplinary team and integration with the existing healthcare services.
One of the most difficult dilemmas for the palliative care educator is to achieve some kind of standardisation across programmes. There is a need for some form of guideline to set a common ground for educational preparation for all disciplines involved in the delivery of high-quality palliative care.
In 1997, the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) proposed that the collective member associations in each country should create a national education network, which would link with the EAPC education network. The proposal from the EAPC Board of Directors was to establish minimal recommendations for training in palliative care for both nurses and doctors, and also to identify those training skills most appropriate for palliative care educators.
The EAPC has, over the last two years, tried to unify the European voice of palliative care through its initiative, ‘One voice, one vision’.
The creation of task force initiatives to address some of the key issues which pertain to this watchword included the project described here – a proposal to offer some kind of guidelines for the future development of palliative nurse education. This report entitled A Guide for the Development of Palliative Nurse Education in Europe is the culmination of a three-year collaborative project, finally agreed in November 2003.
This document does not merely represent the views of four palliative nurse educators in Europe. The document was translated into five languages and distributed with a questionnaire to 100 palliative care nurses in Europe. A further 39 attended a consensus workshop at the 8th EAPC Congress held at The Hague in April 2003. Nurses involved in practice and/or education were asked to feed back their views and opinions on the paper. The resulting document forms a body of opinion about the future structure and potential framework that could be used in the formation of palliative nursing programmes across Europe.
Martine De Vlieger; Nuria Gorchs; Philip Larkin; Françoise Porchet
Extracted from Eur J Pall Care, 2004; 11(4) and Palliative Medicine 2004; 18(5): 401–403.