Improving knowledge, confidence and competence of undergraduate healthcare students in end of life care communication

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Posterpeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Wolverhampton


Background: Standards for effective communication are core within most pre-registration curricula, however preparing students for the challenging demands of conversations with people at the end of life has been identified as a vital area of skill development.
Aim: Following the development of interprofessional, simulation-based training in end of life care communication for final year undergraduate students, our aim was to explore students’ perceptions about interprofessional learning and evaluate the impact of end of life care communication simulation-based training.
Methods: A before and after design involving the dissemination of a self-report questionnaire was used. The questionnaire included the Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale, Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale, and a 14 items questionnaire specifically developed for this study to measure students’ perceptions of their knowledge, skills confidence and competence when dealing with challenging communication at the end of life.
Results: The study sample consisted of 99 final year undergraduate students from the disciplines of medicine (29%), nursing (30%), physiotherapy (24%) and pharmacy (17%). Evaluation data revealed that participating students were supportive of end of life interprofessional education and could recognise its benefits. Interdisciplinary Education Perception scores were high both before and after the delivery of the session. The improvements for the subscales of ‘competency and autonomy’ (Z= -3.65, p=0.00) and ‘perception of actual cooperation’ (Z= -2.90, p=0.004) were statistically significant. There was also a statistically significant positive change in the students' perceptions about their level of knowledge, skills, confidence and competence when dealing with challenging communication situations related to end of life care (Z= -8.40, p=0.000).
Conclusion: Interprofessional simulation-based learning can contribute to students becoming fit for purpose in end of life care communication at the point of registration. The design and delivery of interprofessional, simulation-based training can be labour and resource intensive requiring further research and economic evaluation.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Nov 2015