Dr. Megan Pfitzinger Lippe, assistant professor and simulation specialist at The University of Alabama’s Capstone College of Nursing, recently received the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association’s New Investigator Award. The award recognizes the work of an individual in the beginning of his or her research career who has done quality research focused on clinical care, professional development, or advancement of palliative nursing.
Lippe’s interest in palliative care started when she was working on her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. While she thought her career would focus on simulation, she became intrigued by palliative care through developing an end-of-life simulation for a critical care class she was teaching.
“I really wanted my students to have an end-of-life simulation because, for me, that was the hardest part of being an ICU nurse,” said Lippe. “The more I explored that world, the more I realized I had a passion for end-of-life care. Reflecting on my career, the patients I still think about to this day are the ones for whom I did something to facilitate a good death.”
Lippe’s research focuses on palliative and end-of-life care education. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scholarly manuscripts on palliative care education.
“I’ve seen so many nurses get into the profession and the part of the job that is so uncomfortable for them is caring for someone who is dying,” said Lippe. “In nursing education, we focus so much on curing our patients, but I want our nurses to be well-rounded and prepared for end-of-life care, too.”
Lippe has obtained $100,000 in grant funding to conduct research in palliative care and education. Her unfunded research includes an integrative review of interprofessional palliative care educational interventions, development and testing of palliative care knowledge and perceived competence measures, and other research with the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium’s Undergraduate Curriculum research team.
“I tell my nursing students that unless they work in a role in which they never care for a living human being in their career, they will eventually care for someone who dies,” said Lippe. “So it’s vital that they have the skill set to care for the patient and their family when that time comes.”
Aside from the HPNA New Investigator Award, Lippe was the recipient of the 2017 End of Life Nursing Education Consortium Award.