How a dinner in Bruges led to NursEduPal@Euro: an Erasmus+ funded KA203 project to improve palliative care education for nurses

Minna Hökkä, Veerle Coupez, Nicoleta Mitrea, Julie Ling, Piret Paal and Danny Vereecke are part of the team behind the new NursEduPal@Euro project. Here, they explain how the introduction of new methodologies, as an alternative to traditional bedside training, aims to create new learning opportunities, adapted to the palliative care needs of future nurses.

Clockwise from top row: Veerle Coupez, Minna Hökkä, Julie Ling, Nicoleta Mitrea, Piret Paal and Danny Vereecke.

August 2018, Minna Hökkä and Veerle Coupez cross paths for the first time at the Summer School organised by the Howest University of Applied Sciences in Bruges, Belgium. Over dinner, they discover their shared passion for palliative care and education and a dream is born – imagine an Erasmus project where palliative care education for nurses is improved… Then Minna meets Daniela Mosoiu and Nicoleta Mitrea at the World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) in Berlin, and Nicoleta in turn reaches out to Piret Paal. Everybody agrees that EAPC would be an invaluable partner.

In January 2020, the entire team gathers in Braşov, Romania for some serious brainstorming and the project takes shape. In April 2020, the final version is submitted to the Erasmus+ KA203 programme for Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education. Fingers are crossed and in August 2020 the liberating email arrives: the highly competitive programme has approved our proposal!

With NursEduPal@euro we aim high… After consulting a broad range of palliative care professionals in Austria, Belgium, Finland and Romania, we will compose a report on the core competencies in palliative care that bachelor-degree nurses should acquire during their studies. We will ask a panel of international experts for their endorsement to get the core competencies recognised as the European standard of knowledge, skills and attitudes required to enable newly graduated nurses to provide a minimum/basic level of quality palliative care.

Then, we will develop innovative learning tools based on real-life palliative cases, including simulation, gamification and methods for clinical and ethical reasoning, to transfer those competencies. The core competencies and learning tools will be assembled in a European matrix to be used as a toolkit for educators in palliative care. Instructors will be trained to use these tools and enhance their competence and the quality of their palliative care teaching. We will provide free access to the learning tools in our virtual showroom to facilitate their implementation in nursing education.

Preparing the proposal for the NursEduPal@Euro project at the meeting in Braşov, Romania: Nicoleta Mitrea, Katharina Lex, Piret Paal, Minna Hökkä, Daniela Mosiou and Nele Janssens.

Finally, we want to build a European community of palliative care educators that offers support and inspiration to develop more attractive and tailored courses to strengthen the palliative care skills of their students. Ultimately, we hope this will have a positive impact on the palliative care provided by nurses to their patients.

Just over six months into the project the scene is set, and the first data are being collected. We are very proud to be able to present already our first ‘pièce de résistance’: the EAPC board has approved our application to develop the EAPC Innovation in Nurse Education Task Force, which will be a connector of educators in Europe. With the task force, we will provide a report of European core competencies in palliative care to be achieved by bachelor-degree nursing students and facilitate the implementation of the results of the NursEduPal@Euro project.

Through this blog, we will keep you updated on the main achievements of the NursEduPal@Euro project and the EAPC task force. For more detailed information, please visit our websites below or follow us on Twitter @NursEduPal.

Links and resources

More about the authors…

Minna Hökkä, RN, PhDc, is the regional project manager of NursEduPal@Euro for Finland. Minna is the Head of School at the School of Health and Social Services, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kajaani, Finland.
Veerle Coupez, RN, MsC, is the project coordinator of NursEduPal@Euro. Veerle is the coordinator of nursing research of Howest University of Applied Sciences, Belgium.
Nicoleta Mitrea, RN, PhD, is the regional project manager of NursEduPal@Euro for Romania.
Julie Ling, RN, PhD, is the regional project manager of NursEduPal@Euro for EAPC.
Piret Paal, Priv Doz, PhD, is the adviser for NursEduPal@euro specialized in palliative care education, outcome evaluation and spirituality. Piret is Reader in Nursing Science (Palliative Care), Deputy Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre at the Institute for Nursing Science and Practice, Paracelsus Medical University, Austria.
Danny Vereecke, PhD, is the project manager of NursEduPal@Euro. She is a researcher at the nursing department of Howest University of Applied Sciences, Belgium.

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This entry was posted in EAPC ACTIVITIES, EAPC Task Forces/Reference Groups, EDUCATION & TRAINING, Nursing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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