Palliative Care

Introducing the new Palliative Care Graduate Certificate

The brand-new UW Palliative Care Graduate Certificate, co-presented by the UW Schools of Nursing and Medicine, is now open for practitioners who are seeking to deepen their skills, understanding and practice of palliative care. Students who participated in the pilot program this summer have given glowing testimonials about the program.

Here’s one student’s experience.

Katie Evermann Druffel, MSW, LICSW, director of social work and care coordination at Pullman Regional Hospital Filling the gap in services

Pullman Regional Hospital

Pullman Regional Hospital Quality of Life Team

In 2010, Katie Evermann Druffel and her colleagues at Pullman Regional Hospital developed their community’s first Quality of Life Team to care for end-of-life hospital patients. Outside the hospital, however, there is a huge gap in available services in their community for people living with serious illness or chronic health conditions.

“The Pullman area has a growing number of people living with serious illness that could not only benefit from, but deserve the services associated with palliative care support,” Druffel said. “People are just coming to understand how palliative care can help.”

Recognizing this, Pullman Regional paid for Druffel and Joan Hendrickson, RN, Assistant Director of Med/Surg and ICU, to travel to Seattle in 2015 to participate in the UW Palliative Care Pilot Training Project and learn skills and strategies they could implement in their Eastern Washington community.

UW palliative care training

“The training was more than I could have imagined,” Druffel said. “It was deep and energizing. I enjoyed being on the UW campus, and I found the interplay between medicine and academics inspiring. Learning a common language to describe and define palliative care to unfamiliar audiences was key for me.”

In the near future, she aims to generate a business plan with input from administrators and community advisors to create a Pullman-based palliative care service for both patients in the hospital, as well as people with serious illness and chronic conditions living in the community.

Ideally, Druffel said, the palliative care team would be present at the time of diagnosis, supporting patients and families through the symptoms and stress of serious illness.

Translating training into practice

Trainees would:

  • Learn “Obtaining the story: Seven Important Questions,” a list of questions to ask patients about their hopes, fears, sources of support and more.
  • Maximize the interdisciplinary team approach to meet the needs and demands of patients, families and providers
  • Implement staff support and self-care to be able to care for patients and each other, day-in and day-out

Selected class descriptions

Students in the UW Palliative Care Graduate Certificate will have the opportunity to take the following courses:

  • Autumn Quarter—Introduction to Person-Centered and Interprofessional Palliative Care (NSG 526/BH 566): This course presents the student with the foundational concepts and skills needed to deliver high quality, integrated, person-centered palliative care within an interprofessional team.  Content includes foundational skills in narrative and person-centered care in the context of advance care planning and initial palliative care assessments. Interprofessional practice topics include implicit bias, supporting your team to delivery team based care, and preventing burnout.
  • Winter Quarter—Advanced Topics in Person-Centered and Interprofessional Palliative Care(NSG 527/BH 567): This course builds on the foundational skills developed in the first quarter to increase competency in the concepts and skills needed to deliver high quality, integrated, person-centered palliative care within an interprofessional team. Content includes advanced communication skills in narrative and person-centered care across the continuum of palliative care needs, including facilitating family meetings, caring for the imminently dying patient, and responding to patient/family grief and bereavement. Advanced interprofessional team topics include interfacing with non-palliative care teams and managing team conflicts.
  • Spring Quarter—Palliative Care Quality Metrics and System Integration (NSG 528/BH 568): This course prepares the student to integrate team-based palliative care into a larger system. Specific content includes identifying stakeholders, engaging leadership to support palliative care, and using quality metrics to leverage support and ensure quality of care. The course ends with a capstone project that integrates elements from the 9-month curriculum to support program growth and sustainability.

Learn more about the UW Palliative Care Graduate Certificate.