Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Jennifer Rice, DNP, APRN, AGNP-C

Jennifer Rice
  • Committee Chair Name & Credentials:
    Laurie Connors, DNP, APRN, FAANP
  • Committee Member Name & Credentials:
    Mary Jo GIlmer, PhD, MBA, RN-BC, FAAN


DNP Project Abstract

Impact of Education on Palliative Care Knowledge and Delivery Confidence in Hospital Providers

Throughout 2020, the United States experienced multiple surges of COVID-19 with severe cases monopolizing hospital systems. The acute need for symptom management and serious goals of care conversations, revealed a growing demand for palliative care (PC) in hospitalized COVID-19 patient populations. The purpose of this project was to develop, implement, and evaluate an asynchronous primary palliative care education module and a validated PC resource pocket card for hospital providers caring for adult patients with serious illness in a hospital with limited specialty palliative care staff.

The project design was a quality improvement initiative translating evidence into practice via a voice over power point education module with web-based pre/posttest accessible through REDCap and distribution of a resource pocket card. Educational intervention included topics of primary palliative care, effective communication techniques, symptom management, and advance care planning. Pre/posttests were adapted from two validated PC surveys: the PQCN and PEACE.

Aggregate data analysis of N=12 participants, n=9 MDs, n=2 NPs, and n=1 DO, indicated a provider awareness of barriers to primary palliative care delivery in daily patient encounters and a provider interest and willingness to pursue continuing education regarding palliative care. Barrier themes included: patient/provider bias, limited knowledge/training, and lack of time. All 12 (100%) participants felt the project increased their PC knowledge and plan to incorporate primary palliative care into their daily patient encounters.

Implications for Practice
This DNP project allowed for insight into hospital-based providers’ perceived barriers to early and effective PC implementation in the hospital setting. Self-reported increased PC knowledge and delivery confidence following the education module shows the benefit of PC continuing education. Expansion of PC education modules throughout the hospital system for all healthcare workers, especially nurses, could positively impact the quality and consistency of patient care, allowing for more equitable palliative care distribution.