Fairfield University's School of Nursing to host free Pediatric and Adolescent Palliative Care Workshop for caregivers


Pediatric nurses are at the forefront when caring for children who live with a life limiting condition and their families.

On Saturday, March 28, Fairfield University's School of Nursing will host the first of a series of educational workshops focusing on pediatric and adolescent palliative care issues that impact this underserved patient population. The workshop supports a wider School of Nursing initiative to integrate into curriculum the teaching of communication, decision-making and other key skills vital in caring for terminal and chronically ill children and their often-overwhelmed families. Nurses, physicians, school nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, bereavement counselors, pastoral caregivers, hospice care workers, and other healthcare professionals are invited to attend the half-day conference. It will take place in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Dining Room, on the Fairfield campus, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The workshop's sponsors include The Kanarek Family Foundation and The Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Foundation.

To register, e-mail your name, title, affiliation, address and daytime phone number to Cathy Tuttle, of the School of Nursing, at ctuttle@mail.fairfield.edu.

The keynote speaker is Pamela S. Hinds, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, director of Nursing Research at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and an internationally known leader in the field of pediatric oncology and nursing research. More than 20 years of her research career was spent at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Eileen O'Shea, DNP, RN, assistant professor of nursing at Fairfield, said the event will serve as an opportunity for the School of Nursing to share curriculum, research and resources with professionals. "A void exists nationwide in the education of pediatric nurses and related caregivers and we hope this series of workshops will address that."

Dr. O'Shea is the project director of Fairfield's initiative to integrate Pediatric/Adolescent Cancer and Palliative Care into undergraduate and graduate curriculum beginning in the fall. Holding a binder full of hundreds of pages of palliative care and hospice care information, she said, "We're trying to disseminate this education to the healthcare community. It can't be just stored in a binder. "At the workshop, participants will be taught to recognize opportunities for change in improving end of life care of children and adolescents. Participants will also be taught key ways to communicate bad news, the differences between hospice care and palliative care, and to identify factors that are crucial for end of life decision-making, among other skill sets.

In addition to Dr. O'Shea, panelists include alumnus Robin Kanarek, '96, BSN, RN, who helped found The Kanarek Family Foundation; Dr. Joseph McNamara, M.D., a pediatric hematology/oncologist at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital; and Christine Cross, BSN, RN, of Masonicare Home Health and Hospice VNA in East Hartford. Because funding is an issue for this specialized area of care, panelists will discuss how caregivers can unify as a group. They also will share resources from the cutting edge End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC).

For more information about the School of Nursing, visit fairfield.edu/nursing.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 10, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 241