Aim. This paper reports a study to determine the effectiveness of a postqualification course in palliative care in terms of increased knowledge, insight and self-efficacy among Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses.
Background. The importance of measuring the effectiveness of postqualification courses in palliative care for nurses is widely recognized. The benefits of such courses are often merely described in terms of satisfaction of the course participants.
Method. A convenience sample of nurses was studied. The effect measurement comprised a pretest/post-test quasi-experimental design. Two instruments were used: a comprehensive variant of the Palliative Care Quiz for Nurses and an especially developed domain specific self-efficacy instrument for palliative care. These were used before and after the course.
Findings. The course had a positive effect on knowledge and insight level as well as on level of self-efficacy. The main improvements were related to pain and symptom management. Participants seemed to be able to increase the effects of the course by implementing certain products on the wards, such as clinical lessons, a pain assessment scale and relaxation massage.
Conclusions. Palliative care courses can make a significant contribution to nurses’ knowledge and insight, as well as their self-efficacy in providing palliative care.