End-of-Life Nursing and Education Consortium Communication Curriculum for Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Teams

Betty Ferrell, Haley Buller*, Judith Paice, Wendy Anderson, Dor Anne Donesky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Expert communication skills are essential for the delivery of effective palliative care across the domains of care. However, few health care providers receive formal communication training. To promote communication education for interdisciplinary palliative care teams, a train-the-trainer course for interdisciplinary hospital-based palliative care teams was developed to prepare them to teach other health care professionals communication skills. Course Design: The curriculum was organized by the eight domains of the National Consensus Project Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care and provided communication skills training for California-based teams. The two-day train-the-trainer course included skill-building exercises and interactive discussions to assist participants in integrating communication skills building into their clinical settings. Using a goal-directed method of teaching, faculty assisted teams in developing three institutional goals for providing palliative care communication training to other health care professionals. Evaluation of the course included immediate postcourse evaluation and follow-up evaluation at six and nine months. Results: The first statewide interdisciplinary communication training took place in January 2018 with 26 palliative care teams consisting of primarily nurses, followed by social workers, chaplains, and physicians. The 46 course participants' postcourse evaluations demonstrated high satisfaction with the course. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = lowest), the course met participants' expectations and objectives (4.8). The teams' precourse goals focused on (1) staff education, training, and mentorship, and (2) institution-wide system changes. Conclusion: Palliative care interdisciplinary teams can incorporate communication skills into their practice and provide communication skills training to their institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1091
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • communication skills training
  • curriculum development
  • interdisciplinary education
  • palliative care
  • palliative care education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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