Anne Kolenic on End-of-Life Communication Skills

May 1, 2014
Anne Kolenic, RN, BSN, OCN

Anne Kolenic, RN, BSN, OCN, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, Cleveland, Ohio, discusses a pilot study that examined novice nurses' end-of-life communication skills while measuring their confidence levels on the subject.

Anne Kolenic, RN, BSN, OCN, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, Cleveland, Ohio, discusses a pilot study that examined novice nurses' end-of-life communication skills while measuring their confidence levels on the subject.

About a year and a half ago, a pilot program was implemented at the Seidman Cancer Center that taught end-of-life communication skills to novice oncology nurses. Kolenic says the program, which enrolled 17 nurses, included interactive learning modules and case studies. After 6 weeks of training, the nurses participated in a focus group. Kolenic says the goal of the study was to not only to teach the nurses the skills, but to increase their confidence on the subject so that they could take the skills they learned and implement it in their practice.

The scores of a survey showed that the nurses did experience an increased level of confidence after participating in the program, Kolenic says.

The program has now shifted to the larger education group at the medical center. Since then, the didactic portion of the program has been implemented. Kolenic says the program is now being taught to all new graduates, not just oncology nurses. The program has also helped nurses discuss other difficult conversations with their patients, Kolenic says.

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