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Evaluation of ELNEC Faculty Training Program Shows Growing National Commitment to Strengthening Nursing Care

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

Evaluation of ELNEC Faculty Training Program Shows Growing National Commitment
to Strengthening Nursing Care
Over 19,000 Nursing Students from 460 Institutions Have Received ELNEC Training

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2005 – The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), a national initiative to improve end-of-life care (EOL), has just published data in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine which shows widespread dissemination and adoption of best practices related to EOL nursing care. These data were collected from five training courses developed to enhance expertise in nursing faculty teaching in undergraduate and continuing education programs. Over a 12-month period, 502 faculty members representing 460 different nursing programs from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico received ELNEC training and shared this new knowledge with students and colleagues in a variety of educational settings.

The results from the 12-month data showed significant improvement in disseminating EOL content. Participants reported that after attending the ELNEC course, they were able to devote more time to teaching EOL issues (18.59 hours pre-course compared to a post-course mean of 28.72 hours). Understanding the constraints on faculty and crowded nursing school curriculum, this change was notable in that changes occurred within the first 12 months of course attendance. Because of an increase in EOL curriculum content, participants rated the effectiveness of new graduates in providing EOL care as higher than in their pre-course rating and mastery improvements were significant after students studied the ELNEC modules. In addition, ELNEC-trained faculty used this curriculum to teach outside of their own nursing program (49%); attended other conferences on palliative care (46%); and began subscribing personally to EOL publications and journals (43%).

"ELNEC has personally and professionally broadened my thinking and approach to end-of-life and palliative care,” said Carol Long, PhD, RN, faculty from Arizona State University. “The necessity of providing baseline EOL knowledge is essential for students and practicing nurses alike in all settings so that we have at least the beginning approaches to patient care. This program has reaffirmed my commitment to improving standards for EOL care for patients wherever they are in the continuum of care."

Because of the extraordinary demand for ELNEC courses and the overall success of the program, project leaders are renewing efforts to reach pediatric palliative care nurses, oncology nurses and graduate nursing faculty, as well as continuing education providers at hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities. At this point, only one third of the nation’s undergraduate nursing programs have attended an ELNEC course. Reaching the other undergraduate nursing schools and maintaining each participating school’s strong commitment to EOL care education are future goals of the ELNEC project.

“The ELNEC project is crucial to providing up-to-date EOL nursing content which translates into excellent care to patients and their families,” said Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, principal investigator of the ELNEC Project. “Over the next few years, we estimate that ELNEC-trained educators will touch the lives of 6 million patients and their families facing the end of life.”

These ELNEC courses were funded by a major grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered jointly by The City of Hope National Medical Center and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. ELNEC has also received support from the National Cancer Institute. Since it was launched in February 2000, ELNEC has trained over 2,000 nurse educators representing all 50 states. For more information on this project, see


City of Hope National Medical Center is an innovative biomedical research, treatment and educational institution located just outside of Los Angeles. Designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases. The Center’s philosophy of Hope has inspired its health care experts to develop programs that focus on treating the whole person—their emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing—in addition to their physical care. It is this combination of patient-centered care, state-of-the-art treatment and groundbreaking research that has made City of Hope a leader in the fight against devastating diseases. Web site:

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for university and four-year-college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 580 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. Web site:


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231