Research output

Conference Paper (Unpublished) ()

Using café-conversations for teaching and learning in end-of-life care

Carolan C (2013) Using café-conversations for teaching and learning in end-of-life care . ENTER Conference 2013: Enhancing Nursing through Educational Research, 3.12.2013 - 3.12.2013, Edinburgh. Available from:


Excellence in end-of-life care education in the pre-registration undergraduate nursing programme is vital to enable graduate nurses to deliver quality care for the dying in all settings. While death education has increased, students and staff report that their training is inadequate and does not sufficiently prepare them to care for the dying and bereaved.  To promote ‘Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief' awareness week undergraduate nursing students and qualified nursing staff were invited to attend an informal café-conversation by asking "What would you like to say to help make a difference to how we discuss death, dying and bereavement?" The session was formally evaluated and students were asked to rate their current teaching on death, dying and bereavement.

Thirty undergraduate students from across three year groups attended. Evaluation of the café-conversation was overwhelmingly positive. Only half of the students agreed that current teaching was sufficient for their needs with areas of unmet learning such as performance of last offices highlighted. An unintended emergent finding was that students reported meaningful learning had occurred during the café-conversation through shared reflection on each-others experiences. Students described that shared reflection and learning was promoted by the relaxed environment, the varied mix of groups and the use of multi-professional facilitators.

The café-conversation would appear to encompass the reflective observation and abstract conceptualisation domains within Kolb's experiential model but would appear to have ‘added value' above standard small group learning due to the learning environment created. Current reliance on the content heavy lecture is unlikely to foster the deep learning necessary to equip students to care for dying patients and their families. Further research should explore the use of café-conversations as both a pedagogical approach in teaching end-of-life care and as a tool to identify unmet learning needs to inform future curricula design.

End-of-life; Education

StatusPublicly available
AuthorsCarolan Clare
Publication date03/12/2013
Date of public distribution03/12/2013
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