Palliative nursing is the active and integrated care of patients suffering from a terminal or life-threatening illness and their next-of-kin, given by multiple-professional teams. The aim of such care is to prevent and relieve suffering and to promote quality of life. The aging population and the proliferation of chronic illness has increased the need for palliative care. In order to develop palliative nursing and medicine, the Ministry of Education and Culture granted the EduPal project special funding. The objective of the project is to assess the current state of education in palliative nursing and medicine in Finland and to describe from a multiple professional context, basic competence (A) and specialist competence (B/C) in palliative nursing and medicine, in cooperation with experts from working life (doctors, nurses, practical nurses).
“The aim of the project is to compile a national recommendation for the inclusion of a palliative nursing and medicine teaching program in the basic studies of university of applied sciences nursing degrees and university degrees in medicine, and to create nationally uniform recommendations for specialist education in palliative nursing and medicine,” says Project Manager, Minna Hökkä.
The project will also develop multi-professional education and higher education teachers’ palliative nursing competence. Palliative nursing is not currently integrated into all levels of healthcare and not enough palliative nursing education is included in the training of all healthcare professionals. In Finland, palliative care arrangements and availability vary according to region, which is partly associated with the lack of available expertise. The development of palliative care education is one of the proposed actions in the Ministry of Social Affairs’ recommendation concerning how palliative care should be organised. This development need has also been emphasized in the latest statement concerning euthanasia from the National Advisory Board on Social Welfare and Health Care Ethics ETENE. Universities and universities of applied sciences are failing to produce sufficient basic and specialist expertise in palliative care and the contents and scope of palliative care and medicine education vary significantly across different universities of applied sciences and universities.
Development cooperation involving different professionals
The EduPal project will be implemented in cooperation with different professionals by 15 universities of applied sciences that offer nursing education, five universities offering degrees in medicine and one department of nursing and health administration science. Education in palliative nursing and medicine will be developed in close cooperation with working life, patient organizations and the Church Council. The project will produce internationally commensurate basic and specialized palliative care and medicine teaching programmes and further education processes, based on competence and needs assessment. The project will strengthen the students’ expertise and improve their working life skills. As a result, education in palliative care and medicine in Finland will be of the highest international quality.
The primary project executor is Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, with secondary project partners, Metropolia, Turku, Laurea, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Diak, Centria, Karelia, Novia, Lapland, Savonia, Vaasa, Oulu, and Saimaa Universities of Applied Sciences, and the Universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Oulu, Turku and East Finland. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and it will run until 30.09.2020.
Further information about the project:
Project Manager, Minna Hökkä (Nursing degree), tel: +358447157078, minna.hokka(a)kamk.fi
Project Coordinator Juho Lehto (Medicine degree), tel: +358504090974, Juho.Lehto(a)staff.uta.fi