Anne Hughes (center) and student Julia Itsikson (right) consult with a patient at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco (photo by Elisabeth Fall).
February 2015 • By Andrew Schwartz

Within months of beginning training in UC San Francisco School of Nursing’s Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN), Julia Itsikson observed a palliative care intervention for a middle-aged man with mesothelioma.

“The family was struggling to accept a devastating diagnosis and poor prognosis, but because of the palliative care team’s approach to this complicated and sensitive issue, both the patient and the family became more receptive to new goals of care that focused on comfort measures rather than aggressive treatment,” says Itsikson. “It got me interested.”

Now a student in the School’s recently established minor in palliative care, Itsikson joins a growing number of individuals, communities, policymakers and health care professionals calling for greater access to palliative care services – and more training for clinicians.

Beyond Hospice, Filling a Need

Palliative care assumes that patients who suffer from serious, life-limiting disease – not just those actively dying – need symptom relief and supportive care to ease the stress of coping with their illness. Multiple studies have shown that palliation can significantly improve patients’ quality of life – and, in some cases, prolong it.

Perhaps that’s why so many local hospitals and clinics urged the School to step up its palliative care training, says faculty member DorAnne Donesky, who led the School’s effort to establish its minor. She is among those who see the benefits of palliative care every day, in her clinical work with patients who have chronic pulmonary disease.

The Dean's Blog | David Vlahov

While attending a recent meeting of nursing faculty leaders from across the country, a small group of us from research-intensive schools met informally to compare notes. One of the topics was protected time for junior faculty on the tenure track: how much to provide and for how long to new assistant professors, and senior faculty’s expectations about how to accommodate such time.​

There was no single shared vision across schools, but for me it is impossible to discuss this idea of protected time without looking at its role in an entire career arc.

Featured Articles

February 2015
Commentary: Sex Work, Health Policy and the Need for a Grassroots Social Movement Perspective – Doctoral student Kate Horton argues that an ongoing sex worker movement is well suited to taking the lead in forging laws and policies that will better protect the health of these workers.
February 2015
A Different Kind of Nurse: Ilufredo Tantoy Looks at a Future in Pharmaceutical Research – PhD student Ilufredo Tantoy is combining practical experience with research to bring better drugs to patients with cancer.
January 2015
Hamza Alduraidi: Forging a Path for Better Lives for Refugees – Doctoral student Hamza Alduraidi is using his research training to understand and address the drivers of poor health among Palestinians living in refugee camps.
January 2015
Dementia’s Hidden Toll: Helping Family Caregivers Cope – Dementia can take a huge toll on the health and well-being of caregivers. UCSF researchers are looking at ways to help family caregivers cope with the stresses and provide the best possible care to their loved ones.
January 2015
Bringing Big Data Analysis to the Search for Symptom Relief – Kord Kober, a bioinformatics expert and evolutionary biologist, brings “big data” analysis to UC San Francisco School of Nursing’s nationally recognized research efforts on symptom management.