Objective: We explored the contribution of optional palliative care (PC) learning to the training of undergraduate nursing students.
Design: This is a qualitative, exploratory study.
Participants: PC students from two universities (n=236) responded to the open question: What was the contribution of the PC course to your training?
Methods: A thematic analysis of the respondents' answers was performed with investigator triangulation.
Findings: Four themes were identified. Firstly, the PC course provided a comprehensive view of the nursing discipline. Secondly, the course helped the students to know how to interact with, communicate with and better understand patients. Thirdly, the contribution of the course to the students' personal growth prompted them to reflect personally on death, thus promoting self-awareness. Finally, the students considered the PC course to be of great importance in the nursing curriculum.
Conclusion: Nursing students believed that a PC course was an essential component in their training, which contributed favourably to their personal and professional development.