Aug. 18, 2022

Palliative and end-of-life care graduate certificate geared towards health-care professionals in all practice settings

One of the newer offerings in the UCalgary Nursing graduate certificate program is aimed at those who support individuals and families to live well until death, across the lifespan
Emilie Muth BN'14 has been working in palliative home care since 2015
Emilie Muth BN'14 has been working in palliative home care since 2015

UCalgary Nursing’s online graduate certificate program continued to prove highly successful over 2021 – 2022 with admissions at almost 150 (at end of June 2022) for September 2022.  All certificates showed higher application rates over the past year, with the exception of the new specialization, Oncology Nursing, which is not offered in 2022. 

Also introduced in September 2021, the Palliative and End of Life certificate provides foundational knowledge and skills for nurses and possibly other health-care professionals to help individuals and families live well until death, across the lifespan, in all practice settings.

"Nurses are integral to person-centred care, facilitating conversations with individuals and their families about their full range of needs - physical, psychosocial and spiritual - at all stages of a chronic progressive illness," explains Shelly Raffin Bouchal, UCalgary Nursing associate professor and lead of this certificate.

"These courses are probably best suited for health-care providers who are focused, both in their career and in their interests, in developing more knowledge of holistic experiences in end of life care because it fosters awareness and understanding of the benefits of early integration of palliative care into plans of care."

For Emilie Muth (BN’14) and Lindsay van Genugten, the certificate has also given their career confidence a boost and opened their eyes to the role of research.

It has surprised me with a new love of research, so I may move my career in that direction,” admits Muth, who has been working in palliative home care since 2015, with some stints in adult oncology, acute palliative and Rosedale Hospice and who is passionate about the field. “I am working toward my MN and am now thinking about continuing my education beyond that degree.”

Van Genugten, an RN for 10 years with experience in rural acute care settings, geriatric community settings, palliative home care and hospice care, has always wanted to further her nursing education and is looking forward to completing her MN as well.

Her immediate goal is to secure a clinical nurse specialist position on the palliative consult team. “I (now) feel better prepared from a clinical knowledge standpoint,” she says. As mother to four young children (ages nine to two), carrying a line with the palliative home care team and a casual position with hospice, Van Genugten says “the flexibility and challenge are a wonderful fit to help me achieve my goals while balancing my family.”

Muth, who also does some clinical instructing with Mount Royal University, agrees. “I appreciate the flexibility of this certificate. I like the remote/online platform, part-time; it allows me to continue to work as well as focus on being a mom to my four-year-old daughter.

"It has really enhanced a lot of my clinical skills including communication, serious illness conversations (talking about advance care planning), symptom management,” she continues.

“It has changed the way I think - more critically, think outside the box, innovatively - and has really opened doors and made my career exciting again.”