Does studying postgraduate palliative care have an impact on student’s ability to effect change in practice?
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Objective To find out from alumni whether their postgraduate course in palliative care had an impact on their ability to change practice. Setting Palliative & Supportive Services, Flinders University has delivered postgraduate palliative care courses via the online learning mode of delivery since 2004. Subjects An online survey was administered to alumni asking about such issues as: the impact of learning for practice, and their ability to influence change (Flinders University ethics no: 7154). Seventy-six alumni responded to the survey, and were mostly older female nurses, which is not only a reflection of our student cohort but also of clinical practice. Primary argument In this study, we are examining the relevance of our courses to practice, specifically how alumni report the impact of postgraduate study on both their individual clinical practice and organisational systems. Evidence based practice is the cornerstone of nursing and of education programs globally and while our students are learning best practice they report that they cannot easily translate their new knowledge into practice. Conclusion Clinicians with postgraduate qualifications can be empowered to expand their clinical skills and more, for example, their leadership capabilities, to critically challenge health care systems and act as a role model for others. However, if we are to truly build the capacity of our students and alumni to implement changes in the workplace then we need to also engage them in evidence to practice strategies and change management theory and practice.
© 2018 Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation. Reprinted with permission of AJAN.