Specialist professional education in
How did we get here and where are we going?
In this chapter, I focus on education to prepare practitioners for a specialist role in palliative care. I focus mainly, but not exclusively, on post-basic nurse education in the UK. However, experiences from other disciplines and contexts, particularly medical education, will be used to draw comparisons or to explore different ideas. Basic professional training programmes or short courses aimed at generalists will only be discussed in as much as they have influenced the development of more advanced education programmes. The philosophy and principles of specialist professional education generally are discussed briefly with fuller consideration given to key elements of palliative care education and what constitutes best practice. The development of palliative care education is then outlined. It is not my intention to provide a historical account, but to consider the factors that have influenced, and will continue to influence, how specialist education develops. This will give rise to an exploration of the challenges to be faced in the future. In relation to the provision of specialist education, recent experience as a provider of multiprofessional palliative care education is cited as an example, supported by comments from current and recent students to provide the consumer's perspective (permission was granted by the students concerned). Therefore, what participants of specialist professional education programmes might want or need from their experience is considered.
Education is a complex concept that is difficult to define. It is not a discrete event but a process with a humanistic basis intended to enhance the participant's learning and understanding (Jarvis 1983). A humanist approach is concerned with 'human growth, individual fulfilment and self-actualization'