Creating enduring change: demonstrating the long-term impact of a faculty development program in palliative care

J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Sep;21(9):907-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00486.x.


Background: Improved educational and evaluation methods are needed in continuing professional development programs.

Objective: To evaluate the long-term impact of a faculty development program in palliative care education and practice.

Design: Longitudinal self-report surveys administered from April 2000 to April 2005.

Participants: Physician and nurse educators from North America and Europe. All program graduates (n = 156) were invited to participate.

Intervention: Two-week program offered annually (2000 to 2003) with 2 on-site sessions and 6-month distance-learning period. Learner-centered training addressed teaching methods, clinical skill development, and organizational and professional development.

Measures: Self-administered survey items assessing behaviors and attitudes related to palliative care teaching, clinical care, and organizational and professional development at pre-, postprogram, and long-term (6, 12, or 18 months) follow-up.

Results: Response rates: 96% (n = 149) preprogram, 73% (n = 114) follow-up. Participants reported increases in: time spent in palliative care practice (38% preprogram, 47% follow-up, P < .01); use of learner-centered teaching approaches (sum of 8 approaches used "a lot": preprogram 0.7 +/- 1.1, follow-up 3.1 +/- 2.0, P < .0001); and palliative care topics taught (sum of 11 topics taught "a lot": preprogram 1.6 +/- 2.0, follow-up 4.9 +/- 2.9, P < .0001). Reported clinical practices in psychosocial dimensions of care improved (e.g., assessed psychosocial needs of patient who most recently died: 68% preprogram, 85% follow-up, P = .01). Nearly all (90%) reported launching palliative care initiatives, and attributed their success to program participation. Respondents reported major improvements in confidence, commitment to palliative care, and enthusiasm for teaching. Eighty-two percent reported the experience as "transformative."

Conclusions: This evidence of enduring change provides support for the potential of this educational model to have measurable impact on practices and professional development of physician and nurse educators.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / standards
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / standards
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Educational*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Palliative Care* / standards
  • Palliative Care* / trends
  • Professional Practice / trends
  • Program Development
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires