Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Joan Moon


Palliative health care is offered to any patient experiencing a life limiting or life changing illness. The palliative approach includes goals of care, expert symptom management, and advance care planning in order to reduce patient suffering. Complex care can be provided by palliative care specialists while primary palliative care can be given by educated staff nurses. However, according to the literature, intensive care unit (ICU) nurses have demonstrated a lack of knowledge in the provision of primary care as well as experiencing moral distress from that lack of knowledge. In this doctor of nursing practice staff education project, the problem of ICU nurses' lack of knowledge was addressed. Framed within Rosswurm and Larrabee's model for evidence-based practice, the purpose of this project was to develop an evidence-based staff education plan. The outcomes included a literature review matrix, an educational curriculum plan, and a pretest and posttest of questions based on the evidence in the curriculum plan. A physician and a master's prepared social worker, both certified in palliative care, and a hospital nurse educator served as content experts. They evaluated the curriculum plan using a dichotomous 6-item format and concluded that the items met the intent of the objectives. They also conducted content validation on each of the pretest/posttest items using a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not relevant) to 4 (very relevant). The content validation index was 0.82 indicating that test items were relevant to the educational curriculum objectives. Primary palliative care by educated ICU nurses can result in positive social change by facilitating empowerment of patients and their families in personal goal-directed care and reduction of suffering.