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Developing Empathy: Patients need and want to be Heard
  1. Vicky Robinson, Consultant Editor
  1. Vicky Robinson is Consultant Editor, End of Life Care, and Consultant Nurse in Palliative Care, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London

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I was disturbed, yet unsurprised, to read in Michelle Morris’s article (featured on pages 8–14 of this issue) that the National Audit Office (2008) has found that only 18% of the nurses it surveyed, had received any preregistration training in palliative and end-of-life care. I had no formal preregistration education or training in end-of-life care. However, I did (and still do) have role models.

As a student nurse, 6 weeks into my training, one of my first jobs on a ward was to assist a staff nurse with last offices and learn how to care for a deceased patient. As a second-year student nurse, I learned about palliative care from what was then called the ‘Support Team Sister’. She visited the male medical ward on which I was placed to talk about enabling a particular patient suffering from lung cancer to die in his own home. She was inspirational. From her …

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