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, 44 (4), 169-76

Companionship and Education: A Nursing Student Experience in Palliative Care

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  • PMID: 15862050

Companionship and Education: A Nursing Student Experience in Palliative Care

Kristine L Kwekkeboom et al. J Nurs Educ.

Abstract

Currently, major deficiencies exist in undergraduate nursing education for end-of-life care. Nursing students report feeling anxious and unprepared to be with patients who are dying. A Palliative Care Companion program that allows undergraduate nursing students to volunteer to spend time with patients at the end of life provides a unique educational opportunity to enhance students' knowledge and attitudes toward palliative care. In addition, the program offers a service to patients and families by providing a nonmedical, caring human presence to patients who may be alone, lonely, or bored. In accordance with tenets of Experiential Learning Theory, a Palliative Care Companion program was developed and revised using feedback from initial participants and facilitators. Data collected during the first two semesters indicated increased knowledge of palliative care, improved attitudes about care at the end of life, and fewer concerns about providing nursing care to dying patients, when participating students were compared to their undergraduate peers.

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