Educating Nurses for Palliative Care: A Scoping Review
An aging population requires that nurses in all areas of practice be knowledgeable about high-quality palliative care. The purpose of this scoping review was to summarize the available evidence for providing palliative care education for nurses. Searches were conducted in the spring of 2012 of 5 electronic databases using controlled vocabulary. English-language articles published between 2001 and 2011 were included in the review, yielding a sample of 58 studies. Findings reviewed included country and setting of study; palliative knowledge taught; methods, number of hours, and duration of education; study design; and evaluation methods. Eighty-six percent of studies reported positive outcomes. Effect size calculations for 9 outcome measures resulted in large (n = 1), moderate (n = 4), and small (n = 4) effects in a positive direction. However, effect sizes were heterogeneous, suggesting moderator variables. Although there appears to be an overall positive effect of palliative education, findings from this scoping review illustrate the diversity of educational approaches and lack of rigorous study designs, making it difficult to make recommendations for an evidence-based approach to educating nurses in palliative care.
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