Linfield College Online Education: Improving Access to Palliative Care in RN to BSN Curriculum

By Melissa Robinson PhD, RN

green_rural_hospital__signNurses serve in key roles in the community related to the coordination and delivery of palliative care services in the community. Nurses have also encountered challenges associated with accessing palliative care services and support for patients, particularly in rural communities. By preparing nurses in RN to BSN programs with knowledge of palliative care approaches that include pain and symptom management, holistic nursing care, cultural awareness, spiritual support, and more, nurses can feel more prepared to intervene with advocacy and support.

The palliative care nursing class at Linfield College is providing nursing students with an opportunity to choose an elective course that will enhance their specialty knowledge while also delivering practice-oriented experiences that are immediately applicable to their work in nursing. Their learning is enhanced through collaboration with peers on challenging issues such as communication with patients and families at the end of life and moral and ethical decision making. Students can explore why these issues are challenging and develop strategies that will help them navigate some of the most distressing aspects of working with people who are experiencing life-limiting illness.

Student learning is also impacted by the diversity of the online classroom. Students in the course are generationally diverse and have had varied experiences in nursing, from pre-licensure nursing students, to new RN graduates, to nurses with many years of practice experience. The course is making a difference for RN to BSN students who are Registered Nurses when they attend the online BSN completion program. Many of the nurses live and work in rural communities where formal palliative care programs are currently less prevalent and less accessible to the patient population that they care for.

  • “Thank you for a very though provoking class. It has helped define me as a person and nurse.”
  • “This course has really helped me in so many ways; for my patients and also personally, finding strength in myself to provide better end of life care.”
  • “I was a huge advocate for a patient within the last week and it made a huge impact on the patient’s desires and outcomes. I feel I have the proper language skills to address this difficult subject.”
  • “This class is an absolute necessity to be successful as a nurse.”
  • “Now I am not afraid to communicate with people about death and dying, or about their choices, even if their choices are different than mine.”

The elective courses in the Linfield College nursing program are designed to contribute to the nurse’s liberal education while contributing to his/her ability to influence health outcomes in a diverse and ever-changing health care environment. Students are supported to achieve a deeper understanding of the social, economic, and political factors that influence health and how the nurse can use his/her influence to improve those particular conditions.
Join the Linfield online learning community of nurses advancing their education – start with a meaningful nursing elective course with content designed to expand your practice in Palliative Care Nursing.  Palliative Care Nursing (3 credit upper division nursing elective) is offered during the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters. Registration opened on May 9 for both Summer and Fall terms.

Meet the Faculty: Dr. Melissa Robinson is certified in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing and Online Teaching and has nearly 20 years of experience in palliative and end-of-life nursing care. Her approach to facilitating the palliative care course is to design engaging, student-centered activities that inspire deep thinking and reflection on life and practice experiences. She values diverse perspectives, lifelong learning, and opportunities that inspire personal and professional growth.

Top 4 Myths You Should Know About Online Learning

After debunking myths about online learning, you quickly see that this option has many benefits. Students can earn an online college degree program in their own time.

Online learning is growing in popularity, and for good reason. When exploring your education options, don’t let a few myths get in your way. You may just discover that an online college degree program is the right avenue for you.

  1. Online Courses Are Not Accredited

The first misconception about this type of learning is that courses taken from home on your computer are not accredited. This is totally false, as most colleges and universities that welcome online students are accredited, and most credits completed at these schools can be transferred.  Schools like Linfield are regionally accredited which means that our students can go on for an advanced degree (which is not always an option for students attending nationally accredited institutions) and that the college adheres to stricter ethical practices when it comes to things like recruiting, financial aid and academic policies.

  1. There Is No Instruction

The second myth is that students are required to teach themselves and that there is no instruction. The truth is that students are guided through recorded lectures, posted readings, discussion board interactions, and more. Professors are always accessible through email, and they can also be reached by phone during office hours. In addition, supplementary services like online tutoring are available to ensure your success.

  1. Internet Learning Is Easy

When working towards your online college certificate program, you’ll quickly discover that the thought that online learning is easy is nothing but a myth. Online classes are just as rigorous as their traditional classroom counterparts, and instructors will hold students to high standards. Our students will be given deadlines for all of their assignments, take tests and quizzes, and write several papers throughout each course.

  1. Fact.mythYou Won’t Have Any Direction

As with any other college or university, you’ll be given an academic advisor. This person is responsible for creating a course schedule that works for you, as well as giving advice as to which electives to take or what steps are needed to cover all graduation requirements. At Linfield, you can communicate with your advisor via email or make an appointment to chat over the phone as often as you need to. In addition, our career development team has developed a repository of useful resources on our website.

In this day and age, an online college degree program just makes sense—but it’s important to approach your coursework with the right mindset. Keep these myths in mind for a clearer perspective about what to expect from your classes, and how to best prepare for your learning experience.


4 Ways to Make a Good Impression on Your Online Professor

When it comes to online college courses, professors are given a large number of students with no faces to tell them apart. Follow a few simple tips to make a good impression on your teacher.

Since you likely won’t be meeting with your online professors face-to-face, it’s smart to go the extra mile to make a good impression. Not only will this let your instructor know that you are serious about the course and your education, but it also is a great way to help you stand out from among the rest of the names of those attending the class.

  1. Contact Your Professor Via Email

Start off each of your online college courses by sending your teacher a quick message. Briefly introduce yourself, let the instructor know you are excited about the class, and ask any questions you have that are relevant to the course requirements, the subject, or the program.

  1. Go Above and Beyond in the Discussion Boards

Many assignments in online colleges are given in discussion board format, which allows for interaction between students. If you want to impress your professor, try being the first to start the discussion. You’ll also want to respond to your classmates as they post their threads to the forum, as jumping into the discussions and fostering collaboration among your peers can show that you’re invested in the class and engaged with the material.

  1. Complete Your Assignments on Time

You won’t win any awards by turning in work after the deadline; in fact, that will give your instructor the opposite view from the one you seek. Instead, create a schedule for yourself that promotes promptness in completing classwork, as timely submissions show a professional attention to detail and can be a great way to maintain a good rapport with your professor.

  1. Proofread Your Work

Although the online college courses you’re working on may not be English classes, you will still need to turn in assignments that are grammatically free from errors, as mistake-riddled text will lose the confidence of your instructor. Once you finish drafting a paper or an email, take a few minutes to check it over. Use a word processing program that can quickly point out any misspelled words, and if you have a fresh pair of eyes handy, have them look the document over to see if they spot anything that needs to be fixed.

Should you follow the above advice, you’ll make a good impression on your professor in no time at all.