Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Advanced Skills for Progressive and Life-Limiting Illness Conversations

Date to be determined

1 day course

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Delivery Format: In-Class

Course Description
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  • Course Description

    Supporting clients and families experiencing progressive disease and life-limiting illness requires skillful and effective communication as part of a palliative approach to care. This workshop will focus on developing advanced skills for facilitating conversations associated with progressive and advanced disease transitions. These skills are transferable across clinical settings and populations. Emphasis will be placed on principles of effective communication and shared decision making, mitigating conflict and managing high emotional states, and strategies for sharing bad news and conducting serious illness conversations. The workshop will address both the perspective of the client and family, and the health care professional. The goal of this course is to enhance the health care professional’s effectiveness and confidence in supporting clients and their families going through transitions associated with progressive disease and life-limiting illness.

    Course Objectives

    By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

    • Recall theories and evidence in clinical communication essential for a palliative approach to care.
    • Identify strategies for managing serious illness conversations (i.e. prognosis, ‘sharing bad news’) and managing high emotional states.
    • Discuss differences between advanced care planning and goals of care conversations.
    • Describe how an understanding of the individual’s values, beliefs and preferences support informed decision making through transitions associated with progressive and advanced disease (including at end of life).
    • Identify the impact of the power of language (verbal/nonverbal/written).
    • Recall a framework for family meetings.
    • Reflect on the perspective and past experiences of both the client/family and the health care provider.


    This course has been designed to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based education experience for Nurses, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Practitioners, and other health care professionals. This course is applicable to practitioners in any clinical setting (i.e. clinics, client homes, long term care facilities, intensive care units, in-hospital wards, and palliative care units) where progressive and life-limiting illness conversations occur.

  • Schedule and Location

    Course Schedule

    The course schedule is available as a Printable PDFupdated February 20, 2020.


    Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
    Health Sciences Building
    University of Toronto
    155 College Street
    Toronto, ON
    Canada M5T 1P8 (map)

  • Faculty

    Allyson Nowell, RN, BScN, MSc, CON(C)

    Allyson Nowell is an Advanced Practice Nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Palliative Care and supporting a Toronto Central LHIN initiative as a Clinical Coach for Long Term Care homes implementing a palliative approach to care. Most recently she held the position of Senior Professional Practice Leader at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre where she also established the McCain Centre for Pancreatic Cancer. Allyson did her Master’s of Nursing at McGill University. She has worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for more than 15 years in palliative care and oncology, including spending 5 years in the United Kingdom as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a Hospice where she was a Team Leader and a Lecturer Researcher. Allyson sits on many local, provincial and national committees and is currently the Director-at-Large, Professional Practice for Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO).

    Patricia Murphy-Kane RN, BA, BScN, MN, CHPCN (C)

    Patricia (Trish) Murphy-Kane is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto. She holds a clinical appointment with the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. Her nursing experience has been in many different clinical areas both in hospital and the community. Over the last sixteen years Trish has focused her practice in oncology where she has worked in the areas of surgery, medicine and palliative care. Presently she works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in palliative care at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. In this role Trish is committed to the advancement of nursing practice through mentorship, education, research and interprofessional collaboration.

    Guest Faculty:

    Kelly McGuigan RN, BScN, MN, CON (C), CHPCN (C)

    Kelly McGuigan is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in palliative care at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Ryerson University, a Masters degree in Nursing from the University of Toronto and she is certified in oncology and hospice palliative care through the Canadian Nursing Association. She has an adjunct lecturer appointment with the Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto. Her nursing experience in the last thirty years has been in oncology and palliative care in both hospital and community based programs. In her current role as a clinical nurse specialist in palliative care she works on the inpatient consult service. This role includes providing clinical consultation to oncology patients on the acute care units, supporting clinical teams in providing a palliative approach to care, psychosocial care and advance care planning (ACP). Kelly is involved in program initiatives in education and research in palliative care, advance care planning, psychosocial care and symptom management.

    Dhara Moddel MSW, RSW

    Dhara Moddel is a Social Worker in the Department of Supportive Care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She currently works in Palliative Care on both the Inpatient Palliative Care unit as well as supporting patients and families in the Palliative Care Clinic. She previously worked as the Coordinator for a specialized psychosocial volunteer program at the Princess Margaret, and worked as an Oncology Social Worker as well. Dhara Moddel is a graduate of the University of Toronto Masters in Social Work program.

    Jennifer Moore MD

    Jennifer is a Palliative Care Physician for the Palliative Care Consult Team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is a member of the Division of Palliative Care, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. Her research areas/interests include: palliative care, medical education, self-care and reflective practice.

  • Registration Information


    Early Bird price (ends May 8, 2020) $335 + HST
    Regular price (starting May 9, 2020) $370 + HST
    U of T Nursing Alumni save 15% $315 + HST
    U of T Nursing Adjunct and Status Faculty save 15% $315 + HST
    Student in U of T Faculty of Nursing save 50% $185 + HST

    Site Groups

    A group discount rate is available for site groups of three or more people. For details please contact

    Please Note

    • Refund Policy – To withdraw from the course and receive a refund, your written request must be emailed to by May 8, 2020. No refunds will be given after this date. All refunds are subject to an administration fee of $100 + tax. As an alternative, a colleague may attend in your place. Please send your substitution request at least 7 days before the course.
    • Registration is limited.
    • Advanced registration is required. You must register by June 2, 2020. No on-site registration at the event.
    • U of T Nursing Alumni discount is available to participants who hold a BScN, MN, PMNP Diploma, MScN or PhD from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.
    • U of T Nursing Faculty discount is available to participants who hold a current faculty position, a clinical instructor position, an adjunct appointment or a status appointment to the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
    • Student in U of T Faculty of Nursing discount is available to participants who are currently completing their BScN, MN or PhD at the Lawrence. S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing.
    • Applicable taxes (13% HST) will be added to the registration fees.
    • Course Cancellation Policy – The university reserves the right to cancel courses due to unavailability of instructors, facilities or insufficient enrollment. Decisions on course cancellations are made at least 15 calendar days prior to the course starting date, so early registration is recommended. If you enroll in a course that is subsequently cancelled, you may transfer to another section of that course if an alternative is available; or you may receive a full refund of the fee and tax you paid to the University of Toronto. We are not responsible for travel arrangements, travel fees, or any expenses incurred by you.
  • What past participants have said about this course:

    “You gave us tools, tips and courage to carry the torch forward. Thank you!”

    “Excellent discussion, feedback and insights!”

    “This was a fabulous course. I would highly recommend it for others!”

    “Very knowledgeable and approachable presenters.”

    “The presenters were excellent and brought such great knowledge, experience and understanding of this very challenging aspect of practice.”  

  • Contact Us

    Phone: (416) 978-5207
    Address: Centre for Professional Development
    Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
    University of Toronto
    Suite 130
    155 College Street
    Toronto, ON
    Canada M5T 1P8

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