Graduate Publications and Other Selected Works - Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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Objective: The purpose of this evidence-based practice quality improvement project was to implement an educational intervention to improve pediatric palliative care services in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). The goal was to improve nurses’ knowledge of palliative care and increase the number of palliative care consults.

Methods: Educational sessions were created using the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Pediatric Curriculum. Participants included 46 PICU nurses. Knowledge of palliative care was measured at three timepoints; pre-, immediately post- and four weeks post-intervention. The number of palliative care referrals were measured at two timepoints; three months pre- and three months post-intervention.

Results: Palliative care knowledge scores improved significantly from pre- to post-intervention. There was also a statistically significant increase in the number of PICU patients receiving palliative care referrals.

Conclusions: Providing education to nurses about pediatric palliative care can improve PICU nurses’ knowledge and subsequently increased the number of nurse-initiated palliative care referrals for patients.

Practice Implications: Educational training using the ELNEC Pediatric Curriculum can improve nurses’ knowledge and increase palliative care referrals. This could lead to improved patient outcomes by connecting patients to services known to improve physical and emotional well-being and overall quality of life.

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