Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Nursing Department

Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Michele Lovell

Second Advisor

Kerry Nolte


This study aimed to analyze undergraduate nursing students’ primary palliative care knowledge to determine if there is a need for further palliative care education in undergraduate, pre-licensure curriculums. To make this determination, this study utilized the Undergraduate Nursing Palliative Care Knowledge Survey (UNPCKS), created by Dr. Andra Davis and Dr. Megan Lippe, a 27-question survey that addresses the 6 domains of holistic palliative care; i) holistic, patient-centered care (Whole person care), ii) collaborative (Interprofessional), iii) understanding of primary palliative care as a resource and how to support patients/families (Advocacy and Knowledge of Primary Palliative Care), iv) the importance of understanding patient’s priorities (Goals of Care), v) the importance of informed conversations with patients and families (Communication), vi) physical care (Symptom Care) and vii) support after a loss (Bereavement). The survey was administered to students enrolled in the undergraduate nursing program at the University of New Hampshire-Durham, and the data was collected through an online survey distributed to every undergraduate nursing student. The UNPCKS scores were then analyzed to determine if there was a knowledge deficit in the primary palliative care knowledge of undergraduate nursing students, and whether those deficits correlated between participant answers and the demographic experiential questions. After the results had been examined, 3 significant correlations were extracted, the most notable of which was between the total UNPCKS score and having provided postmortem care. While we were unable to identify concrete correlations that pointed to significant gaps in nursing students primary palliative care knowledge, it is important to acknowledge the current and future need for palliative care education in nursing curriculums. This research is important and relevant because there is an aging population in the United States that requires increased healthcare for an increasing rate of complex, chronic and life-limiting disease processes for which palliative care is indicated.