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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 49 comprehensive cancer centers, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the world. City of Hope's main campus is in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution. For more information about City of  Hope, visit

ELNEC Celebrates 20 Years of Advancing Excellence in Palliative Nursing

Published February 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2019 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is proud to recognize the End-of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) on its 20th anniversary as the world’s leading nursing education initiative focused on improving the care of patients with serious illness and their families. ELNEC was launched in 1999 with initial funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a faculty development initiative designed to improve palliative care. Since its inception, this model academic-practice partnership between AACN and the City of Hope (Duarte, CA) has reached nurse educators in all 50 states and 99 countries around the world.

“Nurses spend more time assessing and caring for patients with serious illness than any other healthcare professional and, therefore, must be well-educated to provide care to individuals at their most vulnerable time,” said Ann Cary, PhD, MPH, RN, FNAP, FAAN, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. “We are grateful to partner with the City of Hope on the ELNEC project to provide this education and improve the quality of care available to patients and their families.”

Since ELNEC was launched, more than 24,000 nurses serving as clinicians, administrators, educators, and researchers have attended one of 230 national/international ELNEC train-the-trainer courses. Following these training sessions, participants have returned to their home institutions and presented the ELNEC content to over 726,000 nurses and other healthcare providers worldwide. This project continues to thrive after 20 years thanks to contributions from 13 foundations, organizations, and government agencies that have provided funding for the development of various ELNEC curricula.

Nursing educator and researcher Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, CHPN, FPCN, FAAN, has been the visionary leader of this project for the past 20 years. In 1999, research by Dr. Ferrell and her colleagues found that of the 50 leading textbooks used in US nursing schools, only 2% of the content had any relationship to end-of-life care. Additional research documented a concern by nurses in practice of the need for improved education on caring for patients with serious illness.

“Because of the important role nurses play in caring for the seriously ill, it was important that we focus on educating nursing faculty so they could teach the next generation of nurses,” said Dr. Ferrell. “This approach has been a key to the success of the ELNEC project. Today, we recognize that people are living longer with serious illness(es), and as a nation, we have moved care upstream to begin accessing palliative care at the time of diagnosis of a serious illness.”

Key achievements of the ELNEC project include the creation of ELNEC-Undergraduate, an online curriculum that 330 schools of nursing have accessed since 2017 and over 21,000 students have completed. A similar curriculum is being developed for graduate nursing students. In addition, several curricula are focused on clinical nurses, including ELNEC Core, ELNEC Critical Care, ELNEC Pediatrics, ELNEC Geriatrics, ELNEC Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, and ELNEC Communication. Recently funded projects include education for Oncology Advanced Practice Registered Nurses supported by the National Cancer Institute and online education for all graduate and undergraduate nursing programs in the United States supported by the Cambia Health Foundation. Since 2014, ELNEC has been available online through RELIAS Learning.

For more information about the ELNEC project, visit If you would like to contact the ELNEC project team and/or have questions about this educational program, contact