A Textbook Case of Nurses' Deficiency in Pain Management, End-of-Life Care

Strengthening nursing education in pain management and end-of-life care

The City of Hope National Medical Center led an effort to improve nursing education in pain and end-of-life care.

Under the grant, project staff:

  • Reviewed and critiqued 50 nursing textbooks.
  • Surveyed members of key nursing organizations on how to improve end-of-life education.
  • Surveyed over 2,000 nurses on end-of-life care.
  • Met with nursing licensure leaders to suggest changes in national licensing exams.
  • Created and distributed end-of-life resources for state nursing boards, nursing schools, and textbook publishers, authors and editors.
  • Sponsored a national conference for textbook authors and publishers and a second conference for representatives of state nursing boards to educate attendees about these issues.

Since the project's inception, national nursing board officials have revised the national licensure exam for registered nurses to include more end-of-life content.

Key Findings

Project staff reported the following findings in more than a dozen professional journals:

  • Just 2 percent of textbook content addressed end-of-life issues.
  • One year later, approximately 40 percent of reviewed textbooks had been or would be revised to improve end-of-life content.
  • Nursing organizations consider case studies, access to clinical sites and Internet resources the best tools for improving education in this area.
  • About two-thirds of surveyed nurses said that care of the dying has improved over the last five years.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $788,935 in funding from November 1997 to October 2000 to support the project.