Jane Miller talks about her role as the education facilitator at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.
I organise internal and external education for the hospice. Internally that includes upskilling the workforce and can be anything from mandatory training, such as health and safety or first aid, to working with our medical, nursing and AHP teams on advanced communication skills, symptom assessment and management skills, along with documentation and how to use the electronic system. There’s a very wide range of education in house.
Externally, we run one-off study days with subjects such as breaking bad news, loss and grief bereavement.
We run one and two-day communication skills up to advanced level. We are affiliated with Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow, running three different modules for healthcare professionals within Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
I’m the lead for a module on symptom assessment and management in palliative care with Glasgow Caledonian University, which is accredited at levels 9 and 10.
With Glasgow University, I co-facilitate on advanced communication skills at level 11. I also run, in collaboration with the Macmillan practice care development team, a care home module.
We deliver bespoke communications skills training on subjects such as duty of candour, advanced communication skills and dealing with difficult conversations. For care agencies we offer sessions on what is palliative, hospice and end-of-life care.
The education team includes myself and practice development facilitator Liz Smith, who has a very keen interest in learning disabilities and dementia care. We work with a lot of agencies out with traditional palliative care, and have a great interest in widening access.
The hospice is a centre of excellence for teaching in palliative care and we got there through a lot of hard work. Our study days are always delivered by experts – it’s not just the team here who deliver all the education. It’s very much about scoping who the experts in that field are and asking them to facilitate alongside us.
We keep standards high by always making sure that we know what the local and national initiatives are, knowing what the Scottish Government’s priorities are about palliative care is essential, and we try to always be a step ahead and be proactive. If we see a draft of a national document that says advanced care planning is going to be a priority, we’ll start planning study days.
I’ve been at the hospice for five years and I’ve been a nurse for 25 years. Palliative care training is really important because 57% of patients in Greater Glasgow and Clyde die in hospitals, but only a small amount of people die with specialist palliative care. It’s really important that nurses and doctors working in all areas have the expertise, skills and confidence to deliver palliative care.
The other thing that’s really important in my role is staff support. Palliative care is an area where it can be emotionally challenging at times.
What do I love about my job? I love it when people have been on a study day and come back and tell me that it has changed their practice, that they have made a difference to a patient because of something they have learned under the hospice education programme. That is the biggest thing for me.
Education Facilitator/Clinical Nurse Specialist
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