Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type




First Advisor

Nicole Mareno

Second Advisor

Patricia Hart


Purpose: To assess the palliative care (PC) knowledge of junior and senior level bachelors of science nursing (BSN) students and to compare the PC knowledge between these two groups of students.

Design: A non-experimental quantitative, cross-sectional, survey design was used.

Methods: Seventy two students from a junior level and a senior level BSN course were recruited at a southeastern United States university. The participants completed the demographic form and the Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing (PCQN). Data collection took place from September 2013 to October 2013.

Data Analysis: Overall mean score percentage from the total sample and mean raw scores from each group were used to answer the research questions. An independent t test was performed to assess for differences in PC knowledge scores between the two groups of students.

Results: The total percentage rate on the PCQN was 61%. Juniors (M=11.7) scored slightly lower on the PCQN than senior level (M=12.93) students. The difference in scores were small, but statistically significant (p<0.05). Participants scored lowest on identifying chronic versus acute pain, and highest on understanding that palliative care is an aggressive treatment.

Clinical Relevance: Junior and senior level BSN students lack adequate information on palliative care, and did not meet the AACN expectation of a generalist registered nurse. Further, internal reliability of the PCQN was a concern. Additional reliability testing of the PCQN should be done in the future.