SNHS Professor Awarded $250,000 Training Grant

September 29, 2015


Grants focuses on education to meet the palliative and end-of-life needs of patients and their families

SNHS Associate Professor Susan Duty secured a $250,000 training grant from Commonwealth Corporation focused on palliative care education for Simmons nursing students as well as nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other healthcare team members at South Shore Hospital (SSH).

Simmons faculty will lead workshops using the End of Life Nursing Educational Consortium (ELNEC) curriculum to healthcare professionals and students, including special “Train the Trainer” workshops to ensure the work continues beyond the 2-year grant. Workshops cover symptom management; loss, grief, bereavement education; and give attendees the chance to role play difficult communications with patients, families and healthcare team members.

This grant fills an important need for constituents of the south shore of Massachusetts - strengthening the palliative care and end of life options to patients served by SSH and groups affiliated with the hospital. Additionally, our students leave the workshop prepared with the knowledge and skills to be transformative leaders in the area of palliative care.

“Today’s workforce has not received focused education in palliative care and widespread misunderstanding about palliative care services remains,” remarked Dr. Duty. “Palliative care has shown to improve symptoms and quality of life as well as reduce costs. This grant will build primary and secondary palliative care capacity and community awareness about its benefits.” 

The grant will continue to support Simmons-facilitated trainings and other educational offerings. 

Highlights so far include:

  • January 2015: Purchased CAPC (Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care) membership that gives SSH employees and staff access to unlimited free continuing medical and nursing educational offerings, webinars, resources and support.
  • February 2015: Sponsored five members of the SSH palliative care team at the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.
  • April 2015: Trained 100 junior and senior nursing students at Simmons. 
  • May 2015: Offered a continuing medical education (CME) event - 60 nurses, social workers, case managers, clergy, pastoral volunteers, physicians, nurse practitioners, educators and others attended. Both End of Life and Risk Management CME credits for physicians and contact hours for nurses provided. 
  • June 2015: Trained more than 30 nurses and 16 critical care nurses from SSH, the Visiting Nurses Association, long term care partners, and other critical care areas at SSH. Sponsored members of the SSH palliative care team and a physician champion at the Communication in Serious Illness program by Harvard Medical School.
  • September 2015: Trained more than 100 attendees - Simmons graduate nursing students and nurses from many of Simmons clinical partners. Hosted a critical care workshop for 24 attendees.

One workshop attendee commented that it was the “Best educational experience I have had. I appreciated the variety of educational methods, this experience far exceeded my expectations.”

This grant strengthens the already vibrant Academic Practice Partnership Simmons has with South Shore Hospital. 

Photos of training workshops at Simmons (top) and SSH (below) courtesy of Susan Duty.