Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2019 Dec;22(4):185-197. 10.14475/kjhpc.2019.22.4.185.

Evaluation of Continuing Education Program to Enhance Competency for Hospice Volunteers: An Exploratory Mixed-Methods Design

  • 1College of Nursing, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea. sky24sea@naver.com
  • 2Gerontological Health Research Center in Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea.
  • 3Department of Nursing, University of Gyeongnam Geochang, Geochang, Korea.


Hospice volunteers are serving an invisible yet pivotal role in the hospice and palliative care team. This study investigated how effectively a continuing education program could enhance hospice volunteers' competency.
A total of 20 hours (four hours per week) of training was provided to 30 hospice volunteers who participated in the continuing education for hospice volunteers. Efficiency of the education was analyzed with an exploratory mixed-methods design. For quantitative analysis, the volunteers were asked, before and after the training, about their attitudes towards hospice care, what makes a meaningful life, self-efficacy and satisfaction with their volunteer service. Descriptive statistics, paired t-tests, and Wilcoxon signed-rank test were performed using SPSS Window 20.0. For qualitative research, participants were placed in three groups for a focus group interview, and data were analyzed by content analysis.
A quantitative study result shows that this training can significantly affect hospice volunteers' attitudes and improve their self-efficacy. A qualitative study result shows that participants wanted to receive continuous education from the physical/psychosocial/spiritual aspects to better serve end-of-life patients and their family members even though they have to spare significant time for the volunteer service. They wanted to know how to take good care of patients without getting themselves injured and how to provide spiritual care.
The continuing education program reflecting volunteers' requests is strongly needed to improve their competency. An effective continuing education requires continuous training and support in areas where hospice volunteers are interested in. A good alternative is to combine web-based and hands-on training, thereby allowing hospice volunteers freely take training that suits their interest.


Hospice care; Hospital volunteers; Continuing education
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