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Jennifer Ohman

Jennifer Ohman, BSN, RN

Certificate Program Information here.

Jennifer Ohman works as a nurse for Spectrum Health Hospice and knows first-hand how patients and family members struggle with issues around palliative and end-of-life care.

Ohman, a doctor of nursing practice student at Grand Valley State University, is also in the first cohort of a hybrid interprofessional certificate program in palliative and hospice care, and said the discussions and work done within her classes translate well into her work.

"The goal is to manage symptoms and improve quality of life for my patients, for however long that might be," Ohman said. "The certificate program is helping me transition from a good practitioner to an exceptional practitioner and to embrace an interprofessional approach in order to provide the best possible outcomes."

Grand Valley began offering the hybrid four-course interprofessional certificate program in August; organizers said it meets a growing need in West Michigan. 

Joan Borst, associate professor of social work who teaches in the program, sees tremendous value in the certificate. "Interprofessional teams lead to higher job satisfaction, fewer medical errors and better patient-centered care,” Borst said.  “As social workers, we serve those who are experiencing grief and loss, and the approaches and skills gained through this certificate help us empower patients and families during very difficult times.”

The unique certificate program is a collaborative effort by Grand Valley’s Kirkhof College of Nursing, School of Social Work, and School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration along with West Michigan leaders in palliative and hospice and care. It is coordinated through The Bonnie Wesorick Center for Health Care Transformation within the Kirkhof College of Nursing.

"We are a death-denying society,” said Sue Harrington, assistant professor of nursing who also teaches in the program. “We panic when it comes to death and default to acute care. This certificate program was developed in direct response to a need in our community, the need for interprofessional teams with a deep understanding of what patients and families are experiencing.  As a team we are better positioned to assess options and increases patient satisfaction."

Harrington said the hybrid program prepares individuals who work with patients and families facing life-limiting disease, terminal illness and death with a deeper understanding of the perspectives for delivering patient-centered palliative and hospice care. 

More information about the program can be found here.   Questions about enrolling in the program can be directed to Linda Buck at (616) 331-5785 or buckli@gvsu.edu.