1 x 9-hour independent study weekly
5 x 2-hour on-line exercises per semester

1 x 2-day intensive workshop once-only (for External NS2 - Cohort 2 only)
^ = may be enrolled concurrently
^ PALL8432 - Introduction to the Study of Palliative Care
Assumed knowledge
Familiarity in the use of literature and accessing relevant data bases including OVID Medline, CINAHL, PubMed and any others appropriate to the area of study.
Assignments; Seminar; Online Discussion activities; Simulated Clinical Encounter (Videotaped)
Topic description

The topic aims to increase awareness of the psychosocial effects of terminal illness on clients and their families and on the student as a professional care-giver, and to practice the skill of sensitive communication in the palliative care context. Modules include: The Meaning and Milieu of Death; Communication; Loss, Grief and Bereavement; Spiritual/Existential Issues, Recognizing and Articulating the Implications of Cultural Diversity in the Context of Death and Dying.

Educational aims

This topic aims to provide students with an opportunity to develop their communication skills when interacting with patients diagnosed with a life limiting illness and their families and /or caregivers. This will be achieved through:

  • Exploration of the common psychological, social, cultural and spiritual/existential impacts of death and dying on the patient, their family, significant others and carers
  • The introduction of the underlying philosophies and principles of current models of communication
  • The practical application of communication theories and models and implementation of specifically identified skills in simulated clinical scenarios
  • The review of models and concepts of loss, grief and bereavement and the differences between "adaptive grief" and "complicated grief"
  • Exploration of the values, beliefs and strengths of each person's culture and their role as valuable resources in a strengths approach to care
  • Review of the spiritual / existential issues encountered in the dying process and ways of facilitating care of the human spirit
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the common psychological, social, cultural and spiritual / existential issues in death and dying and their impacts on patient, family and carers
  2. Apply a model of communication skills to simulated clinical situations and identify their own specific strengths and learning needs in communication skills
  3. Critically hone their communication skills via video-taping of mock clinical encounters and critiquing their own and others' use of these via verbatims, case-studies, video-taping of mock clinical encounters (including an optional attendance at a 4-day Communication Intensive Workshop)
  4. Discuss models of loss, grief and bereavement and compare and contrast "normal " or adaptive grief and "complicated" grief
  5. Recognize cultural differences in relation to attitudes to death and caring for the dying and bereaved and be aware of their implications for clinical practice
  6. Identify and describe ways of facilitating care of the human spirit for those living with a life-threatening condition and dying