An End of Life Simulation for Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapy and Nursing Students

Purpose/Hypothesis : Interprofessional (IP) team work is commonplace in providing good clinical palliative care, yet educating students to work as teams when caring for a patient and family at the end of life has been relatively unexplored. The purpose of this IP educational activity was to assess the effect of a high-fidelity simulation on studentsÕ perceived knowledge and skills to provide end of life care.Number of Subjects : A simulation was designed for a pilot group of 24 nurse practitioner (8), nursing (8) and physical therapy (8) students.Materials/Methods : Nursing and physical therapy faculty designed and implemented a two-part simulation involving a patient with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and his family. Part one was set two years post diagnosis with the patient receiving palliative care services at home. During part two, the patient died at home surrounded by his family. Three standardized patients played the roles of the patient and family members. Six students participated in each simulation which took two hours to complete with debriefing. The simulation was repeated four times over two days. Students completed an evaluation survey immediately after the simulation. Responses to survey questions were rated on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Comments to open ended questions were also evaluated.Results : All students agreed (4) or strongly agreed (5) that they would recommend the experience to other students and that they had acquired and would apply new knowledge and skills. Students strongly agreed that the following simulation objectives were met: Engage in therapeutic communication (92%); Employ supportive holistic care at end of life (83%); Engage in IP communication/ teamwork (75%); Relate physiological assessment to the dying process (71%). Students willingly shared their feelings about the complexity of caring for a dying patient both verbally during the debriefing sessions and in writing.Conclusions : Simulating a death and accurately portraying the team work needed to care for family members can be an expensive and time consuming activity; yet, the learning and interactions of the students made this pilot project worthwhile. Further development of a cost-effective exercise for larger groups of students in the three programs is in progress.Clinical Relevance : Students in all health professions were eager to engage in IP educational experiences, including simulation. Students rated this IP end of life simulation as highly beneficial and impactful to their learning and professional development.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2021306
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Deborah A. O'Rourke, Nancy P. LeMieux, Christina S. Melvin, Mary Val Palumbo
  • Keywords: interprofessional education|simulation|end of life

BACK to Abstract Results