Boston Herald Features Medical School End-of-Life Care Curriculum

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Dr. Reidy

The Medical School is one of four institutions in the state revamping the curricula to better prepare future physicians for difficult end-of-life care conversations with patients and family members. Featured in the April 30 edition of the Boston Herald and orchestrated by the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care, the initiative makes Massachusetts the first in the nation to reach a statewide commitment to quality of life. “The Medical School’s Simulation Laboratory is already starting to be used for skills that extend beyond sewing and suturing,” said Jennifer Reidy, MD, chief of palliative care. Read story.

The Story Behind the Success of Palliative Care Scholar Program


Alicia Wierenga, NP, and Jessica Roy, RN, are part of our Palliative Care Scholar Program.

The Jewell Palliative Care Scholar Program, which helps fortify end-of-life care at our Medical Center, has graduated its second class. Read the Telegram & Gazette’s Sunday’s front page story and learn about how a family’s painful experience losing a loved one led to developing the program. A total of 22 caregivers were a part of the latest cohort including nurses from 8 West where the unit’s nurse manager, Alicia Wierenga, MSN, NP,  has been a catalyst in establishing the program. “What struck me was how, we as nurses, have so many tasks to accomplish, we sometimes forget to be present with the patient. By not improving that, we’ll lose that art of nursing,” Wierenga said.

Training Helps Nurses Help Patients Facing End of Life 

Medical Center clinicians who attended the train the trainer course, from left: Antrice Dindy, NP; Melissa  Ryzewski, BSN, RN; Florence Le Clair, BSN, RN; Maureen Bergstrom, BSN, RN; Beth Keating, NP; Suzana Makowski, MD; Alicia Wierenga, NP; Stacey Willard, NP; Laura Everett, MSN, RN; Karen Walker, MSN, RN; and Youngcy Desormes-Forest, BSN, RN.

Did you know that nurses spend more time with patients who are facing the end of life than any other member of the health care team? Studies have shown that many nurses feel inadequately prepared to provide the comprehensive care that is so important at the end of life. Last month 11 Medical Center clinicians attended the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium Core Train the Trainer course in Scottsdale, AZ. The goal is to develop a palliative care scholar program at our Medical Center with the first cohort session starting this fall. The first session is open to 6 West, University Campus, nurses; for more information email Alicia WierengaMedical Center clinicians who attended the train the trainer course, from left, are: Antrice Dindy, NP; Melissa  Ryzewski, BSN, RN; Florence Le Clair, BSN, RN; Maureen Bergstrom, BSN, RN; Beth Keating, NP; Suzana Makowski, MD; Alicia Wierenga, NP; Stacey Willard, NP; Laura Everett, MSN, RN; Karen Walker, MSN, RN; and Youngcy Desormes-Forest, BSN, RN.

Join Info Session on ‘Power of Presence’ for End-of-Life Patients

The Power of Presence (PoP) organization is looking for volunteers to sit with our end-of-life patients for a few hours and provide comfort and support. PoP, in coordination with our Medical Center and Worcester area organizations, will hold information sessions Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 and 3, 6 to 7 pm, University Campus, Albert Sherman Center, East Multi-Purpose Room. Interested individuals will get a better understanding of the program and how they can help. “Just being present is the most common way to offer comfort, but also listening to the concerns of the patient and loved ones, reading out loud, playing music, and holding hands can be helpful,” said Alex Doering, PoP program coordinator. For more information, email Alex or read press release.