splash_uOttawa_233x257The mission of the Nursing Palliative Research and Education Unit is to create an environment that provides leadership, mentorship and support for professors and students pursuing excellence in palliative care research and education.


History of the Unit

The University of Ottawa Nursing Palliative Care Research and Education Unit (NPCREU) was established in June 2009 by professors and graduate students actively engaged in innovative nursing and interprofessional research and educational activities in palliative care. The initiative was led by Dr. Susan Brajtman RN PhD and Dr. Frances Fothergill Bourbonnais RN PhD, the unit’s Co-Directors from 2009-2014. The purpose of the NPCREU, first of its kind and unique within Canada, was to provide leadership, mentorship and support for professors and graduate students pursuing excellence in palliative care research and education. For several years before the establishment of the unit, the School of Nursing of the University of Ottawa was already distinct within Canada in that it had a cadre of professors leading and actively engaged in national and international research initiatives in palliative care. This core of expertise within the School of Nursing contributed to a significant increase over the last several years in the number of graduate students attracted to the University of Ottawa with the purpose of conducting research in palliative care in a scholarly environment that provided exceptional supervision, mentorship and support.

Initially the co-directors, and those interested in establishing the unit, focused on the development of the unit’s mission, vision and goals. Rules of governance were established to guide the unit as it evolved. It was also imperative to increase the visibility of the unit and this was accomplished through the development of a bilingual NPCREU web site, banner and flyer, and the creation of a bulletin board in the School of Nursing to display recent conference posters, published articles and academic activities of the unit’s members.

With funding received from the University of Ottawa’s Teaching/Learning Grants Program and the programme spécial de bourses a l’innovation pédagogique en français, the NPCREU collaborated with the University of Ottawa Centre for e-learning team and the IT department of the Faculty of Health Sciences to develop an on-line resource to support the needs of educators involved in teaching and supporting learners in EOLC. This EOLC on-line resource was developed in response to research studies conducted by members of the NPCREU with graduating nursing students, key educators, and full time and part-time theory and clinical professors in the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa.

In 2011 the NPCREU hosted a workshop in the School of Nursing which offered faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and nurses in clinical practice the opportunity to learn about palliative care research studies.  Based upon the research findings of studies conducted by members of the unit, workshops were  held in  May, 2012 to enhance  nursing  simulation lab facilitators in their ability to teach end of life care.

NPCREU members have published articles in nursing, palliative care and interprofessional peer reviewed journals, and presented papers and led workshops at nursing research, palliative care, spiritual care and interprofessional education conferences.   Members of the NPCRU have led and or actively contributed to several significant palliative care initiatives, such as the development of the Canadian Collation for Seniors Mental Health Guidelines for End of Life (Deliriumhttp://www.ccsmh.ca/pdf/guidelines/NatlGuideline_DeliriumEOLC.pdf) and  RNAO best practice guidelines on “End of Life Care during the Last days and Hours”


Research conducted and disseminated by our graduate students impacts patients, families and health care providers of many disciplines in multiple contexts of care. Through graduate student supervision and involvement on thesis committees, members of the unit have focused on supporting and developing the ability of graduate students from nursing and other disciplines to engage in interprofessional collaborative palliative care research activities.

Local, national and international membership recruitment has always been a major focus of the unit. The NPCREU has hosted visiting nurse and physician international scholars interested in palliative care education and future research collaboration, and have themselves been invited as visiting scholars.

In addition to faculty members and graduate students, members include clinicians and advanced practice nurses. Several members have continued on to pursued doctoral studies in nursing and education.

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