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A growing number of nursing students and experienced nurses are receiving education about palliative care from the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC). The consortium is a partnership between the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the City of Hope National Medical Center, in Los Angeles, Calif.


During a 1-year period, the consortium helped prepare 502 nursing faculty members, representing 460 nursing programs, to educate students and colleagues about palliative care. In the 5 years since the consortium began, more than 2,000 nurse-educators have taken its core courses. Many nurses attended for free, thanks to a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Research has shown that most nurses don't receive enough education about end-of-life care. Faculty members who completed the course work reported spending more time teaching about these issues: an average of 28.72 hours, compared with 18.59 hours before taking the course. A significant number of faculty members said they previously would have hesitated to assign a student to a dying patient; now they seek out opportunities to make these assignments.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant ended last year, but the consortium has obtained funding from the National Cancer Institute for courses for oncology nurses in association with the Oncology Nursing Society. For more information about ELNEC, visit AACN's Web site at http://www.aacn.nche.edu.