Janice Logan and Danuta Orlowska, lecturers in Palliative Care at St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh, write about the importance of offering flexible courses.
The Centre for Education and Research at St. Columba’s Hospice runs a number of courses in collaboration with Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh that are designed for registered health and social care professionals working in adult, children’s or neonatal services, in hospital, community, care home or hospice settings. These are:
- Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care
- Postgraduate Certificate in Palliative Care
- MSc Person-centred Practice (Palliative Care)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Person-centred Practice (Palliative Care – Advancing Clinical Practice) This includes modules on Advancing Practice in Clinical Assessment and Non-medical Prescribing.
Each course consists of several modules, with each module split over five study days. Additional time is required for personal study and work on assignments.
Since 2018, the Graduate Certificate modules can be studied online, face-to-face or using a combination of both. We offer this flexibility because our students often have busy work and family lives, with one student commenting: “Perfect to have the option – one week I couldn’t attend the face-to-face session but knew I could catch up using the online option.”
Students have reported using their learning to make changes in their practice and to expand on their existing knowledge. Feedback has included “I have changed my practice when assessing the patient and the family” and “Learned a lot more about communication that I didn’t know existed”. It’s also been good to get positive feedback about our own roles as lecturers, such as “lecturers helpful, approachable and responsive”.
The students have access to a wide range of materials to facilitate learning and reflection, including academic books and journal articles, policy documents, assessment tools, personal accounts from patients and carers, as well as selected talks and presentations, and sometimes novels, poetry and films. “Online study days/classes were easy to follow, I enjoyed the variety and mixture of articles, YouTube videos etc” said one student.
We are passionate about nurturing the professional development of staff interested in palliative and end-of-life care, and look forward to welcoming new students.