St Luke’s Hospice first introduced The Palliative Care Development programme (PCDP), an in-house training programme, in 2004. Since it began, the aim of the PCDP has been to recruit, educate and sustain a group of nurses (with no previous palliative care experience) in the knowledge and skills of specialist palliative care, thus enhancing the quality of the care provided for patients and their families. Karen Sumpter, Senior Nurse Manager/Deputy Director of Patient Services at St Luke’s Hospice says “The implementation of the programme has benefited both the clinical staff and, more importantly, the patients. Future patient and family/carer support at the hospice is dependant on having a well-educated, highly-skilled nursing workforce.”
The programme is designed as a competency-based skills programme using the Royal College of Nursing Publication “Competency Framework within Specialist Palliative Care” as a baseline. It is run over a six-month period and requires a Registered Nurse to be supported in the clinical environment whilst undertaking the course.
As the programme developed, evaluation and feedback from students identified that theoretical and classroom type teaching was a missing element from the programme. After adding this to the syllabus in September 2006, the inclusion proved to be a real success for the students and by the beginning of 2007, the nursing education team had met with a local university to discuss the possibility of accrediting the theoretical elements of the programme.
In September 2007, the Principles of Palliative Care module was finally accredited and students were on their way to studying Palliative Care at degree level. Click here to read more.