Exploring the role of community palliative care nurse specialists as educators

ArticleinInternational journal of palliative nursing 12(6):277-84 · July 2006with5 Reads
DOI: 10.12968/ijpn.2006.12.6.21453 · Source: PubMed


    In the UK the clinical nurse specialist role (CNS) has evolved in an uncoordinated manner resulting in a broad job remit, with clinical, managerial, research and educational elements. CNSs working in specialist palliative care are expected to contribute to the delivery of education but many have received no formal training to support them in this aspect of their role. There has been limited research exploring the role the community palliative care CNS in providing education, making this study timely.
    The aim of this study was to explore the role of the community palliative care CNS as educator.
    Hermeneutic phenomenology, using semi-structured interviews with a convenience sample of eight community palliative care CNSs was the approach used. Formal ethical approval was obtained and all participants provided written informed consent. Colaizzi's framework for analysis provided a structured and transparent approach to data analysis. A summary of the findings were verified by the participants to enhance the credibility of interpretation presented here.
    Data analysis identified three main themes; conflict of expectations, credibility as a teacher and making the education role work. This study highlighted a team approach may address the conflict of expectations between the role specifications and practice reality.
    The CNS has a role in education. However for some CNSs, providing informal education rather than formal education may be appropriate. If the community palliative care CNS provides formal education, they require the knowledge and skills to deliver it effectively. The role of the CNS in palliative care education in the community should respond to personal, professional and local needs.