Acute care nurses' self-reported competence in palliative care
Hayter, Chelsi Rae.
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Palliative care is a health care specialty that can provide patients and their families relief from burdensome symptoms and improve quality of life when faced with a life-limiting illness. Researchers have documented that nurses' knowledge and competence in palliative care results in more timely referrals for palliative care, which can promote comfort and increase the quality of care patients receive with life-limiting illnesses. Despite the known benefits of nurses' competence in providing palliative care, there is a need for more studies to further quantify nurses' self-competence in palliative care in the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine acute care nurses' self-reported competence in providing palliative care services. A non-experimental descriptive research design was utilized in this study to better understand acute care nurses' self-reported competence in palliative care services in one urban hospital in South Central Montana. All registered acute care nurses were eligible and invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Nurse participants completed the online survey containing standard demographic questions and an instrument that examined their self-competence in 8 domains of palliative care. Mean scores of the instrument showed that nurses in this particular acute care hospital felt they are more than moderately capable in providing palliative care services to patients and their families. Despite this finding, some nurses indicated that they did not feel at all capable in performing some domains of palliative care. Implications for nursing include further education for acute care nurses' to increase self-competence in providing palliative care services to ensure quality care is delivered to patients and their families.