Finnish nursing students’ perceptions of the development needs in palliative care education and factors influencing learning in undergraduate nursing studies: a qualitative study

Minna Hökkä, Juho T. Lehto, Helvi Kyngäs, Tarja Pölkki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Nurses have an essential role in providing high-quality palliative care to patients and their families. Hence, they require adequate palliative care education. However, there is only limited insight into how final-year nursing students perceive palliative care education in undergraduate nursing programs. This study aimed to describe nursing students’ perspectives of the development needs of palliative care education. An additional two aims emerged based on the collected data, namely, to describe the preferred education for palliative care and the factors which promote or hinder palliative care learning during undergraduate nursing studies. Methods: The research was guided by a descriptive qualitative approach and applied inductive content analysis. The frequencies (f) of identified codes (reduced expressions) were counted to show the noteworthiness of each category in relation to the entirety. The participants were final-year nursing students (n = 766) who had participated in a national survey. Results: The inductive content analysis identified three unifying categories. The first was ‘Development needs and views of palliative care education’ (f = 524), which consisted of the main categories ‘the need to develop palliative care education’ (f = 414) and ‘meaning of palliative care and its education’ (f = 110). Secondly ‘Preferred types of palliative care education’ (f = 1379), including the main categories ‘teaching contents in palliative care education’ (f = 905), ‘teaching methods for palliative care learning’ (f = 393), and ‘placement of palliative care studies’ (f = 81). Thirdly ‘The facilitators and barriers to palliative care learning’ (f = 401), consisting of the main categories ‘factors facilitating palliative care learning’ (f = 66) and ‘barriers to palliative care learning’ (f = 335). Conclusions: This study provides detailed information about nursing student’s perspectives of palliative care education and its development needs. Hence, the results are relevant to decision-makers who want to develop undergraduate nursing curricula. This study highlights that palliative care education should be developed by ensuring that all students have equal access to palliative care education provided by highly competent teachers. Possibilities for clinical placements or visits to palliative care units during the education should also be improved. The participating students felt unprepared to provide high-quality palliative care even though they responded that palliative care is an important topic in their nursing studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages15
JournalBmc Palliative Care
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Palliative care
  • Student

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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