Dr. Beth Delaney training students in palliative care

Hall of Fame Palliative Care Curriculum at Cedarville's School of Nursing

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by Lauren McGuire, Student Public Relations Writer

Dr. Beth DelaneyCedarville University’s school of nursing is one of five nursing schools in the state of Ohio to win the 2019-2020 Hall of Fame award for its End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) curriculum.

The ELNEC project is a national and international education initiative to improve palliative care healthcare education, which is employed while serving those who experience a life-limiting and terminal illness.

As part of their ELNEC undergraduate curriculum, the Cedarville school of nursing conducts simulation experiences for senior nursing students during their Leadership and Management class. 

In these simulation experiences, the school of nursing is transformed into Cedarville University Medical Center. Students role-play a clinical care situation with a computerized mannequin who is described to have cirrhosis of the liver. Throughout the clinical simulation and the journey from the emergency room to the death of the patient half of the Cedarville students role-play loved ones contemplating and then mourning the loss of the patient while the remainder of students serves in various medical staff roles. Dr. Carolyn Barnett, associate professor of nursing, serves as the course coordinator.

“Toward the end of the simulation experience, students experience a veteran recognition ceremony, playing roles of family members and the healthcare team,” said Dr. Beth Delaney, associate professor of nursing.

As the patient is dying, the simulation process teaches nurses how to care for a patient who is dying, their families, and the importance of spiritual assessment.

“We teach our nurses the importance and understanding of spiritual resources as a patient approaches death. If a patient is interested in becoming a person of faith, we incorporate ways nurses are able to lead someone to Christ,” said Delaney.

Cedarville’s simulation process also implements The Pause, where caregivers gather around the bedside to honor the life of the patient with a moment of silence after the family has left. This also helps with self-care for the health care team as they cope with the loss of patients and honor the care that has been provided.

Dr. Delaney is a board-certified Advanced Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse who has sought to integrate her palliative care training with teaching opportunities at Cedarville. Students learn this content as early as sophomore year.

“Integrating faith into what we’re doing through the entire four hours of simulation and integrating the veteran ceremony and pause method makes our nursing program unique,” said Delaney.

Delaney was honored in 2019 as the ELNEC Person of Excellence.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.