Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP)

Course overview

Course description

Patients with serious illness benefit by receiving Palliative Care. Despite the rapid growth of the field, healthcare institutions and systems struggle with how to meet this need of providing high quality care for their seriously ill patients. Palliative Care Education and Practice (PCEP) is a comprehensive course delivered by expert palliative care clinicians and educators who create a warm, welcoming environment conducive to deep learning and growth. PCEP provides physicians, nurses, and social workers a structure in which to efficiently acquire the competencies necessary to influence this changing health care environment.

You may apply for either the adult track or the pediatric track. Adult and pediatric track participants attend joint sessions except where noted in the schedule. The pediatric track will highlight the unique aspects of pediatric palliative care.

How will PCEP enhance my career?

At the conclusion of PCEP, participants will have acquired:

  • Significant skills in the clinical practice and teaching of comprehensive, interdisciplinary palliative care
  • Expertise in leading and managing improvements in palliative care education and practice at their own institutions

How is PCEP taught?

Part 1 consists of six days of intensive learning, followed by a six-month interim during which participants work on an individual project and contribute to online discussions of problematic, clinical, educational, or program development cases. Part 2 consists of six days of continued experiential learning, training, and consolidation.

Learning formats

Teaching is learner-centered and takes place in a variety of interactive formats including: small group work, large group discussions, demonstration interviews, and panel discussions.

Participants have the opportunity to develop action plans for change at their institutions and to practice and receive feedback about their teaching and change strategies. Many opportunities for informal interchange are available.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate increased knowledge in the key competencies of palliative care, including advanced pain and symptom management
  • Apply new communication skills to the complex care of seriously ill patients
  • Teach fundamental palliative care principles to learners from a variety of healthcare settings
  • Develop palliative care curricula using principles of adult learning styles, new teaching methodologies, and goal-directed feedback
  • Integrate palliative care clinical programs into a wide variety of healthcare settings by assessing institutional structure and culture, evaluating readiness to change, and developing palliative care programs with strategies for continuity

Who should attend?

PCEP is designed for palliative care specialists, champions, and educators, as well as generalist and specialist physicians and nurses who wish to gain additional competencies in palliative care. PCEP enhances clinicians’ skills in communication, teaching, and clinical practice.

Palliative care specialists charged with new program initiatives and who would benefit from mentoring are also encouraged to attend.

The pediatric track highlights the unique aspects of palliative care for children.

Please note that mastery of spoken and written English is essential for successful participation in PCEP. Candidates from countries for whom English is not the primary language may be interviewed to determine fluency.

Special thanks

We are grateful to the Open Society Foundations' Project on Death in America and Jane Weingarten and the late Dr. Charles Weingarten for their long-term commitment to scholarship funding. Special appreciation to the J. Andrew Billings, MD Memorial Fund. Additional scholarship assistance, and support for our "patients-as-teachers" program, is provided by Partners HealthCare, Inc., the Jacqueline S. Alaimo Palliative Care Fund, and JoJo's Education Fund.