Marquette nursing professor attends summit to develop innovative curriculum

February 17, 2016

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Susan Breakwell, clinical associate professor and director of the Institute of Palliative and End-of-Life Care at Marquette University College of Nursing, recently participated in a summit to define undergraduate nursing palliative care competencies and develop an innovative online curriculum to integrate palliative care in undergraduate nursing education across the nation.

The online format will make the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) curriculum equally available to students in rural areas and help standardize palliative care nursing education. Cambia Health Foundation invested nearly $800,000 to develop the curriculum.

Breakwell was one of 25 nursing educators and thought leaders who attended the summit in Portland, Oregon. The group met to revise the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's "Peaceful Death" statement developed in 1998 to define competencies nurses need to provide care.

"There is a recognized and growing need to prepare pre-licensure nurses to incorporate palliative care into their care of individuals with serious illness," Breakwell said. "It is a privilege to be part of this initiative and work with such an esteemed group of palliative care nursing leaders, educators, researchers, and practitioners."

"While the original 'Peaceful Death' document focused on end-of-life care, this project will focus on the importance of integrating palliative care early in the illness trajectory," said Pam Malloy, RN, MS, of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and co-investigator on the project with Rose Virani RN, MHA, City of Hope, and director of the ELNEC project since its inception.

The new ELNEC online curriculum will be introduced to 92 undergraduate nursing programs in Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Washington, before dissemination to nursing schools in all 50 states in January 2017. ELNEC is a collaboration of City of Hope and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.