Advanced practice nurses (APRNs) have key roles in the care of patients who are nearing death and those living with a disabling chronic disease. This article describes a mixed-method formative assessment of 36 graduate nursing students' knowledge about and attitudes toward palliative care preliminary to curricular integration of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) graduate core modules. Students' knowledge about palliative care was assessed using the 106-item ELNEC examination. In addition, qualitative data were gathered regarding students' definitions of palliative care, the role of the APRN in palliative care, and their definitions of a "good" and "bad" death. Results revealed students' limited knowledge about palliative care. Qualitative findings indicated that most students exclusively linked palliative care with end-of-life care and believed that the treatment they provide should have the goal of prolonging life over maintaining quality of life. Implications for curriculum design, advanced practice role development, and collaboration with community health partners are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joyce_shea/1/