Critical care nurses not given adequate palliative care education, study shows

Nearly 40 percent of critical care nurses in a University of Virginia Medical Center study said they failed to receive palliative care education in the last two years, according to a study published in Critical Care Nurse.

For the study, researchers surveyed 500 critical care nurses at UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville. They included 167 responses to the survey in their final analysis. They assessed the palliative care training the nurses receive.

Palliative care refers to care that focuses on enhancing the quality of life of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, up to the end of life.

The study shows many critical care nurses do not feel prepared to provide palliative care, with 38 percent reporting no palliative care education in the last two years. Only 11 percent of the nurses rated themselves as highly competent in their knowledge of advance directives, living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders.

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