The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) has announced that the National Cancer Institute has awarded a $1.4 million grant to expand the reach of the consortium's national nursing education initiative.

Grant funding will be used to improve end-of-life nursing care through faculty development efforts that will reach all of the graduate nursing programs in the U.S. The grant was awarded to the City of Hope National Medical Center in partnership with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital/Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (NMH). Dr. Judy Paice is co-investigator from NMH and Anne Rhome is co-investigator for AACN.

"This generous award will have a resounding impact on the quality of end-of-life care delivered by advance practice nurses in this country," said Betty R. Ferrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, research scientist at the City of Hope and principal investigator for the ELNEC project. "This funding will allow the consortium to build on our strong foundation and reach out to a new audience of nurse educators."

Launched in February 2000, ELNEC provides nurse educators with essential training in end-of-life care and equips participants with the knowledge and resources to share this new expertise with nursing students and practicing nurses. Those receiving ELNEC training have included faculty from baccalaureate and associate degree programs as well as continuing education/staff development providers. Funded by a major grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ELNEC has trained over 1,000 nurse educators representing all 50 states. Over the next few years, project leaders estimate that ELNEC-trained educators will touch the lives of 6 million patients and their families facing the end of life.

Addressing the need for improved professional education to improve end-of-life care, this new grant will directly impact the nursing care of dying patients, including the 550,000 individuals who die of cancer each year in the U.S. Project leaders will use funding to adapt ELNEC curriculum and teaching materials for use in graduate nursing programs. Beginning in 2003, four training sessions will be held with nurse educators from 63 percent of the nation's graduate nursing schools. The remaining schools (37 percent) will be reached indirectly through dissemination efforts.

"We applaud the National Cancer Institute for their commitment to quality nursing care and their understanding that education makes a difference in professional nursing practice," added Kathleen Ann Long, PhD, RNCS, FAAN, president of AACN.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing represents more than 560 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide. Click here to learn more about the AACN.