Enhanced Skills

New Palliative Care Enhanced Skills options available

In October of 2015, CAPC’s Director Diane E. Meier, MD co-authored an opinion piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine with Arif H. Kamal, MD, MHS, Duke Cancer Institute and Jennifer M. Maguire, MD University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The piece, “Evolving the Palliative Care Workforce to Provide Responsive, Serious Illness Care” highlighted how the lack of a specialty palliative care workforce pipeline is creating a national crisis in terms of reliable access to quality palliative care. The authors recommended an “alternate midcareer certification pathway to build the specialty workforce. This would activate clinicians wanting to work in palliative care but who cannot sacrifice the time and money necessary to complete a fellowship.” Leaders in the field have been calling for mid-career training pathways for years. In BC we have been fortunate to have the Enhanced Skills Program through Family Practice, and many physicians currently providing specialist palliative care in BC trained initially through the program. Some have also participated in a distance learning program offered by the University of Cardiff in Wales. Given the scarcity of palliative care specialists in Canada, there is a need to develop combined clinical and academic learning options for those physicians wishing to make palliative care a larger focus of their practice, but who cannot do a full College-accredited fellowship.

Thanks to palliative care colleagues from the University of Colorado and the University of Washington, there are now two new midcareer interprofessional training pathways to address the lack of palliative care clinicians. Both are based predominantly on distance learning courses, supplemented by intensive short face-to-face training sessions.  Both create an unprecedented opportunity to pursue mid-career training without quitting your job or taking a big pay cut. The University of Colorado is launching a new Masters of Science in Palliative Care Certification Program, and the University of Washington has designed a new Interprofessional Graduate Certification Course in Palliative Care.

The University of Colorado Denver’s Palliative Care Program is a collaborative project for the College of Nursing, School of Medicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to expand education opportunities in palliative care.  The Master of Science in Palliative Care (MSPC) requires 36 credit hours, including pain and symptom management and communication skills, prepares providers – physicians, nurses (including BSN and advanced practice nurses), physician assistants and pharmacists – to be Palliative Care (PC) Community Specialists. PC Community Specialists bridge a network of services to support the needs of patients and family caregivers across the continuum of illness and care settings. The program utilizes interactive online instruction along with three weekend intensives scheduled across the 24-month program.  A 12 credit hour interprofessional Certificate program is also available.  For more information, visit their website or email mspc@ucdenver.edu.  Application deadline is May 1, 2016.

The innovative, interprofessional curriculum offered at University of Washington will be jointly offered through the UW Schools of Medicine and Nursing as a 9-month graduate certificate course for clinicians with who are pursuing or have completed graduate level training (MD/DNP, ARNP, M.Div., PhD, MSN, and MSW). It will be taught by world-renowned faculty using weekly interactive distance learning such as webinars and online modules, peer and faculty mentoring and quarterly in-person workshops. Core content will focus on expertise in three key areas of palliative care practice: person-centered communication, interprofessional team training and program development. The certificate course includes VitalTalk® training, a highly regarded national model for expert serious illness communication skills. The application deadline for an Autumn 2016 start is May 1, 2016.  For more information, visit their website http://www.uwpctc.org or contact Tia Paganelli, Program Manager, at pctc@uw.edu.