paracelsus medical university, institute of nursing science and practice
WHO Collaborating Centre for nursing research & Palliative care education

Prof. Juergen Osterbrink, PhD, MN, RN

Dr. Manela Glarcher, Associate Prof, Deputy Director
Schmidt Yvonne

To support WHO in strengthening palliative care education and training.
In support of WHO to collect, collate and disseminate evidence on nurse-led palliative care practice. 
To support WHO in digital health capacity building in palliative care, by gathering evidence on tellepaliative interventions.


  • Presentation: Performance assessment in palliative care education
  • Project: Palliative Care and Undergraduate Nursing
  • Blog Post Series: Nurses in palliative care
    • Weltjahr der Pflege – Blog, 


Redesignated as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Science and Education (2020-2024)

  • The PMU WHO CC Website launched in 2018 provides news regarding palliative care developments (research, policy papers, and relevant statements) and informs about our activities, projects, and partners. The twitter handle @CentreWho is to distribute palliative care and related content globally.
  • A multidisciplinary evidence based one week post-graduate PC training has been proposed, revised and piloted. The related materials (curriculum template, slides, etc) will be made accessible online (link).
  • A one week interdisciplinary palliative care training titled “Capacity Building and Empowerment” was piloted at the Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, Ukraine, from the 25th of November until the 29th of November 2019. 58 healthcare professionals participated.
  • WHO and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dr Dainius Puras, delivered his report on “A human rights-based approach to health workforce education” to the 3rd Committee at the UNGA in October 2020. We provided him with inormation on palliative care education (systematic lack of it), which is repeatedly mentioned in Dr. Puras’ final report: link
  • Participation in EU funded activities with focus on palliative care education:


Dr. Piret Paal and Prof. Jürgen Osterbrink attending the WHO Regional meeting in Athens, Greece

  • An online survey was launched in November 2017 with the aim to collect information on elements of palliative care education from educators and clinicians from all over Europe. The survey was open until 31.01 in 2018 and provided a new and comprehensive list of learning goals essential for multidisciplinary post-graduate palliative care education, also containing a comprehensive list of best-practice examples for teaching and performance assessment. The results indicate that at post-graduate level all health care providers (1) have to comprehend the palliative care philosophy (2) have to be able to demonstrate the complex symptom assessment and management competencies (3) have to be able to design care plans based on patients and families wishes integrating multi-professional and interdisciplinary approaches, and (4) have to be able to listen and self-reflect.
  • To continue the curricula mapping work across Europe, in 2018 from April to September an ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in 28 countries of European region. The fieldwork resulted in 29 filled out quantitative surveys specially designed for this purpose. Surveys received from 21 countries could be evaluated. In about one third of the surveyed countries, no postgraduate training in palliative care is currently available. The main barriers to the development of training are limited political interest, followed by limited educational structures, absence of curricula, lack of trainers and limited healthcare system. For 85% of respondents, a WHO recommended interdisciplinary postgraduate core curriculum would help promote palliative care in their country. More than 50% state that cultural-religious aspects have to be considered when applying these competencies in their country. There is a high need for postgraduate training in general and the intended core curriculum in particular. The results of the survey, along with those from the interviews in a later second part of the publication, are essential for the development of a core curriculum. It becomes clear that the successful implementation of this curriculum has to overcome the main identified barriers. Furthermore, 32 semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted. This data is being prepared for textual and contextual analysis. Respectively, two scientific papers provide overview of relevant topics and issues are to be published in 2019 alongside with the policy paper containing case studies from different regions.
  • An international group of experts has begun to draft a WHO policy paper on a multidisciplinary post-graduate palliative care education for WHO European Region. This will ensure that the policy paper with WHO recommendations will make a difference in the countries where the politicians are reluctant to develop palliative care services.
  • Simultaneously the work on a pan-European palliative care curriculum to fit national training requirements is rapidly evolving. Decisions on teaching plans and online-content are to be made.
  • Participation in EU funded activities:
      • 09/2017-08/2020 Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships for higher education: Translating International Recommendations into Undergraduate Palliative Care Curriculum (EDUPALL). EDUPALL is an Erasmus+ funded project that aims to produce a complex European Palliative Care programme for undergraduate medical students based on the EAPC recommendations for undergraduate education.
      • 01/2019-06/2022 HORIZON 2020: Late Stage Parkinson’s Disease (PD_PAL), Partner. PD_PAL project brings together a multidisciplinary team with extensive expertise in Palliative Care to develop evidence based Guidelines and a MOOC for Palliative Care in Parkinson’s Disease involving in the process experts from the European Association for Palliative Care, from the European Academy of Neurology and from the Movement Disorders Society. The MOOC “Best Care for People with Late Stage Parkinson’s” will be integrated into the WHO supported interdisciplinary postgraduate palliative care curriculum.
  • PMU WHO CC launched their own website: It provides news regarding palliative care developments (research, policy papers, relevant statements) and informs about our activities, projects, and partners.
    • Paal Piret 2018. Shout out to peers, mentors, teachers, and educators in palliative care. EAPC Blog: June (
    • Paal Piret, Brandstötter Cornelia, Lorenzl Stefan, Larkin Philip, Elsner Frank 2019. Post-graduate palliative care education for all healthcare providers in Europe: Results from an EAPC survey. Palliative & Supportive Care, Published online: 26 January 2019, pp. 1-12 (
    • Pflegesymposium, 29-30.04.2019
    • A new Online Master’s Program “Public Health Das Onlinestudium” starts in April 2019. Supported by John Hopkins University students enrolled in Salzburg have an access to their Global Health Certificate Programme.