• Mary Magee Gullatte

    Mary Magee Gullatte PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN, FAAN

    Corporate Director of Nursing Innovation and Research, Emory Healthcare

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    C. Suzanne Allen MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, AOCNS, OCN

    Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

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    Elizabeth Botheroyd BSN, MHA, RN-BC

    Manager, Nursing Education Department, Emory Healthcare

  • Robert Hess

    Robert Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN

    Founder & CEO, Forum for Shared Governance

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    Melinda Higgins PhD

    Research Professor, Emory Healthcare

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    Julia Meneghetti BSN, RN, CCRN

    Contributor, Relias Institute

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    Sandra Mullings LCSW, ACM-SW, CPC

    Director, Care Coordination, Emory University Hospital Midtown

  • Jennifer Mensik

    Jennifer Mensik PhD, RN, FAAN

    Division Director , Oregon Health and Science University

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    Joy A. Okonye BSN, RN, CCRN

    Anesthesia Provider, Abbott Northwestern Hospital

  • Nadine Salmon

    Nadine Salmon MSN, BSN, RN-BC, IBCLC

    SME Writer, Clinical Nursing, Relias


Improving End-of-Life Communications Using Technology-Assisted Continuing Education with Interprofessional Teams

Evaluating the use of online education to improve nurses’ and social workers’ level of comfort and capability in communicating end of life concerns.


One role of healthcare providers is to involve patients and their families in end-of-life communication and decision making. However, this is often a sensitive topic that providers can be uncomfortable talking about. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the use of online education to improve nurses’ and social workers’ level of comfort and capability in communicating end of life concerns with patients and their families.


A test-retest design pilot study was conducted with 20 inpatient registered nurses and social workers a medical-surgical and critical care unit. Participants viewed three 1-hour Kubler Ross webinars, and before and after the intervention, participants completed surveys, designed to measure self-reported levels of comfort and capability in dealing with end-of-life care and symptom management. Participants also completed a program evaluation.


Results showed that both comfort and capability increased significantly after taking the online training. Further, 90% of the participants who completed the study found the education to be “much” or “a great deal” helpful in enhancing their skills, strategy, and performance.


This study highlights online continuing education as an effective and useful tool to improve the comfort and capability of nurses and social workers. End-of-life conversations can be uncomfortable but online education could provide one avenue to increase provider comfort and capability, potentially improving patient outcomes and quality of care.


Gullatte, M. M., Allen, C. S., Botheroyd, E., Hess, J. G. J., Higgins, M., Meneghetti, J., . . . Salmon, N. (2019). Improving end-of-life communication using technology-assisted continuing education with interprofessional teams. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 35(1), 25-31. doi:10.1097/NND.0000000000000514

Read the Full Research Paper

For more information, you can find the full study in the journal, Journal for Nurses in Professional Development.

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January 2019


This study was published independently from Relias Institute.