Monday, February 15, 2016

Launching the Master of Science in Palliative Care Program

In June, 2015 I wrote about the need to for new training programs in palliative care because of the projected shortage in providers. At that time I wrote that: “Amos Bailey, MD, a well-known leader in the field of Palliative Medicine and a new colleague of mine at the University of Colorado has a pretty innovative idea. He has set up a task force to prepare an application to the Board of Regents to offer a new degree program: Master of Science in Palliative Care. This would be an inter-professional executive Masters that would be provided predominantly online (with three separate one-week on-campus intensives). This program will be designed for the clinicians (physicians and advance practice providers) who are already working and need or desire more training in Palliative Care” and asked people to complete a short survey to gauge interest.

Over the next 3 week 575 individuals completed the survey and 75% reported that they would be “interested” or “very interested” in such a program. This strong endorsement of the need and potential learner demand was key to complete our proposal for the new Master Science in Palliative Care.

We presented the proposal to the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado in September 2015. In a surprise move the Board of Regents elected to suspend their usual rules and voted for immediate approval of the project. This was the ringing endorsement of the Interprofessional Taskforce that had developed the proposal and the idea that we need diverse ways to expand the palliative work force. The first 4 courses (12 credit hours) which include core concepts and principles, communications, management of pain and non-pain symptom in and Interdisciplinary and Interprofessional format will constitute a Certificate in Palliative Care. Students are encouraged to complete advanced topics and earn a Master of Science in Palliative Care.

The Inaugural Class is being recruited now for Fall 2016. At the risk of sounding like a self-promoting special interest group (note: I personally have not been involved in the development of this program at all), I would encourage you to learn more about the program at here and ask your to share this exciting new opportunity with colleagues.

by: Dan Matlock, MD, MPH


Anonymous said...

While the overview states that the palliative care team includes social workers and chaplains, they are not included in those eligible to apply. In my (biased-I'm a hospice social worker) opinion, this is a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the previous commenter who noted the absence of inclusion of social workers in the program. As a licensed clinical social worker who started our palliative care program,I would be very interested in participating in this degree, but appear to be ineligible.

Amos Bailey said...

Your interest and concerns have been noted. Social Work and all of the members of the IDT are important and valued. We have engaged content experts in Social Work, Spiritual Care, Communications, Psychology and Bioethics to develop and deliver content as part of the Masters and Certificate Program. Each week the education modules contains significant content from these one or more of these key areas.

We do plan to develop tracks for providers that represent all members of the IDT as the program matures. We will keep all providers informed of developments and new opportunities.

Anonymous said...

I agree that limiting admissions to this program to those who have medical, nursing, or pharmacy degrees only is a mistake. It can't be "IDT" until you include ALL members of the care team. I'm a certified hospice and palliative nursing assistant who also holds a bachelor's degree in communication, and I've undergone healthcare chaplaincy training as well. I would think that my background would qualify me to apply, but it does not. I'm not sure who designed the admissions criteria, but I hope you will rethink it. In the meantime, I will apply for other programs that have a similar focus.

Anonymous said...

Looks like for Physicians and Advanced Practice Nurses to start. These folks need some good intensive work in Palliative Care. This is a great idea.