The PC Community Specialist demonstrates expertise in relationship centered communication theory and skills to gather and share information, negotiate shared decision making and plans of care, and sustain relationships with palliative care patients/families and healthcare providers.
The PC Community Specialist demonstrates expert clinical judgment in performing a comprehensive patient assessment, leading to diagnosis development, implementation, and ongoing reassessment with modification of effective, evidence-based care plans utilizing the skills and expertise of the interdisciplinary team (IDT), for all distressing symptoms experienced by patients with any serious illness.
The PC Community Specialist incorporates knowledge of ethical and legal aspects of palliative care into practice by exhibiting the highest professional standards and by advocating for the rights of patients/families to access optimal palliative care.
As part of the IDT, the PC Community Specialist demonstrates and promotes spiritually sensitive care, respecting diversity in all forms, for patients/families and other health care professionals.
As part of the IDT, the PC Community Specialist demonstrates respect for diverse communities through culturally sensitive skills, recognizing how social and economic barriers and challenges impact the delivery of health care services.
As part of the IDT, the PC Community Specialist effectively addresses psychological concerns, and promotes access to expanded resources for all patients/families living with any serious illness.
The PC Community Specialist effectively advocates to provide evidence-based palliative care for patients/families and supports and develops expanded resources for all patients/families living with any serious illness.
The PC Community Specialist demonstrates knowledge, skills, and applies adult learning principles when providing palliative care education to patients, families, healthcare professionals, and the community.
The PC Community Specialist demonstrates understanding of the healthcare system to effectively manage and utilize resources to support patients/families living with any serious illness and advocates for the reform of healthcare systems to provide optimal palliative care.
To fulfill the requirements for a Master of Science in Palliative Care, students must successfully complete 33 credit hours over a minimum of 2 years but not to exceed 7 years. Students seeking the Interprofessional Graduate Certificate will complete the first 12 credit hours. All courses will be completed online and mostly asynchronous.
YEAR ONE: 15 CREDIT HOURS (PALLIATIVE CARE CERTIFICATE AWARDED UPON COMPLETION OF INITIAL 12 CREDITS)
Fall Semester 1- 6 credits
PALC 6510: Core Concepts, Principles, & Communication Skills (3 credits)
This 8-week online course covers palliative care models, whole-person assessment, self-awareness for the palliative care community specialist, the impact of illness and suffering on the individual, communication skill development, goals of care, and ethics. This course includes online coursework completed before and after a virtual 3 day intensive that takes place over a long weekend (Thursday- Sunday) in September of each year. Students meet with faculty, complete communications training and participate in group work that complements online content.
PALC 6110: Basic Pain Assessment & Management: IDT Care (3 credits)
This course reviews basic pain pathophysiology, assessment, non‐pharmacological interventions, and non‐opioid and opioid pharmacological pain management. Biomedical content is integrated with psychological, social, spiritual, and ethical concerns related to pain.
Spring Semester 1- 6 credits
PALC 6210: IDT symptom management: Part A (3 credits)
This course covers the assessment and management of common non‐pain symptoms, including anorexia, asthenia, constipation and nausea/vomiting. Biomedical content is integrated with content addressing psychological, social, spiritual, and ethical concerns related to non-pain symptoms.
PALC 6220: IDT symptom management: Part B (3 credits)
This course covers the assessment and management of common non‐pain symptoms, including dyspnea, coughing, and insomnia. Biomedical content is integrated with content addressing psychological, social, spiritual, and ethical concerns related to non-pain symptoms. Certificate students will receive certificate upon successful completion of this semester.
Summer Semester 1- 3 credits
PALC 6520: Communication Skill Refinement: IDT Collaboration
This online course addresses advanced topics in palliative care, including leadership development business development, resilience for the PCCS, and advanced PC communication skills. This course includes pre- and post-work related to a virtual intensive held over a long weekend in August each year. This intensive will expand on and reinforce advanced communications skill and participate in group work that complements online content.
YEAR TWO: 18 CREDIT HOURS
Fall Semester 2- 9 credits
PALC 6310: Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Part A (3 credits)
This course covers assessment and management of chronic illnesses (cardiopulmonary, end stage liver and renal diseases) with emphasis on early PC combined with disease-focused therapy. Attention is given to prognostication and transition into palliative/hospice care or discontinuing treatments with bioethical review and IDT support. Students also engage related psycho-social-spiritual-ethics content.
PALC 6320: Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Part B (3 credits)
This course covers the assessment and management of cancer and HIV with emphasis on early palliative care and disease-focused therapy. Attention is given to prognostication and transition into palliative/hospice care or discontinuing treatments with bioethical review and IDT support. Students also engage related psycho-social-spiritual-ethics content.
PALC 6910 Systems-Level Thinking: Capstone Project Preparation (3 credits)
This course is a 16-week online course that prepares the student to complete a scholarly Capstone Project in PALC 6950. Capstone Projects demonstrate the student’s ability to apply systems thinking to the practice of palliative care and integrate palliative care across disciplines (biomedical, psychological, social, spiritual, and ethics), populations, and care settings. By the end of this course, the student will select a Capstone Project type, identify a palliative care topic of interest, search for evidence, critique journal articles, synthesize evidence related to their topic, and connect with a faculty mentor.
Spring Semester 2- 9 credits
PALC 6330: Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Part C (3 credits)
This course includes assessment and management of neurodegenerative disorders with emphasis on early palliative care and disease-focused therapy. Attention to prognostication and transitions into palliative/hospice care are paired with bioethical review and comfort care for the imminently dying. Students also engage related psycho-social-spiritual-ethics content.
PALC 6120: Advanced Concepts in Pain Management (3 credits)
This course focuses on methadone, opioid infusions, interventional pain management, and other complex modalities. This course also focuses on ethics (e.g., Medical Aid in Dying) and psychosocial issues, including pain in the face of addiction and public policy around opioids and REMS. Students engage related psycho-social-spiritual-ethics content.
PALC 6950 Master’s Capstone Project Presentation (3 credits)
This course is a 16-week online course in which students complete Capstone Projects on the palliative care topic of their choice. The four types of Capstone Projects are Expanded Literature Review, Education Project (preparation phase), Scholarly Writing Project, and Needs Assessment (preparation phase). Capstone Projects meet the ACGME scholarly project requirement for physicians enrolled in the online CHPM Fellowship program.
The program highly recommends that each student have a laptop computer with the following specifications:
Didactic coursework is managed through the Canvas program connected to CU Online. Canvas is designed to work on either PC or Mac computers and supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Microsoft Office® software version 2003 or later is required, including Microsoft Word® and PowerPoint®. Many of the courses use slide shows developed using PowerPoint. Having the full program makes it possible to modify slides to black and white for printing, to reformat the slides as note pages or handout formats, and to make other helpful modifications. Students will be required to prepare PowerPoint slides in at least one course. Microsoft Office software is available at discounted rates through the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Bookstore as either the standard or professional version. Other software in the Microsoft Office package is not required.
Adobe Acrobat® is required to read and print some of the handouts and papers students receive as PDF files. A free downloadable version is available on Adobe's web site.
High-speed access, such as cable or DSL, is not absolutely required but highly recommended. Students will download many large files from the Internet to the computer and access video conferencing.
Attendance to the program is dependent on internet access. Because the online course work is available wherever there is Internet access, it is usually possible to accomplish coursework, even when away from home.