Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

5 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Palliative Care Nurse

Higher Education Articles August 16, 2013

Palliative care is medical care that is intended to support and comfort a patient during a serious or life threatening illness, rather than treat his or her medical condition. Nurses specializing in this kind of care may be called upon to help anyone, from an elderly hospice patient to a child with cancer. The main goal of palliative care is to treat the symptoms of the illness and, in cases such as patients who are receiving chemotherapy, the side effects of the treatments being given for the illness. It can include prescribing medications for pain or anxiety, for example, but also includes things like providing companionship, arranging social interactions and discussing end of life issues.

Five things you should know before becoming a palliative care nurse

You became a nurse because of your sincere desire to help people. You want to see them live happy, healthy, productive lives. Becoming a palliative care nurse is one way to meet that goal, but here are some things you should consider before making that career choice.

•Some of your patients will not get better – This is perhaps the hardest fact for a nurse to face. You entered the medical field because you hoped to see your patients recover from their illnesses. Many times, however, patients who require palliative support will not get better. Their illness or disability may be life long, or they may succumb to its effects. The American Cancer Society, for example, puts the five year survival rate of patients diagnosed with cancer at just 68%. Most people lose their battle with this awful disease. In this branch of the nursing profession, you must face the difficult fact that many of your patients will not recover.

•You will need to be more than just a medical care provider – A large part of palliative nursing is providing emotional support and comfort to your patients. According to the National Cancer Institute‘s fact sheet on palliative care in cancer patients, this can include providing emotional support and counseling, organizing family meetings and even recommending therapy if necessary.

•Palliative care is not the same as hospice care – While many elderly hospice patients will require palliative care to address their fears, pain and discomfort as they near the ends of their lives, there are many other kinds of patients who need the same care. Cancer patients, for example, need help and support from the first moment of their diagnosis through the end of their treatment. They will need emotional support to deal with their frightening diagnosis, as well as help manage the pain caused by their condition and the unpleasant side effects of drug or radiation therapy, some of which will continue even after they have recovered.

•You must be your patient’s advocate – Most people are not at their best when they are ill or in pain. The same goes for the family members who are trying to help their loved one. There will be times when the needs of your patient and the needs of their family members seem to be in conflict. This is when you will need to do whatever is best for your patient. A family member may be pushing your patient to discontinue treatment, for example, or may have become short tempered with them. This is when you will need to step in and ensure that your patient’s needs are met. If this requires calling in law enforcement personnel or alerting social services, that is what you will need to do.

•You will be part of a team – When you are giving palliative nursing care, you will be part of a much bigger medical team, all working for the well being of your patient. The team may include a primary care physician, one or more specialists, pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers and even dietitians. You will need to be willing to coordinate your care choices with these other dedicated professionals.

An admirable calling

Giving your patients the loving care and support they need while they undergo stressful medical procedures or while they are facing the end of life issues is an admirable life’s work. If you can successfully face the unique challenges that this career demands, you will know that you are working at a job that makes a true difference in the lives of your patients.

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online Bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, Psychology, IT, Healthcare Management & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • Provide a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services
  • Give students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
  • We're now Non-Profit.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Looking for an Online Healthcare Degree Program That May Improve Your Career Options?
  • EarnMyDegree.com Can Help You Match Your Educational Goals With Your Desired Career.
  • Whether You Are Looking to Earn a Degree Online, or Study at a Nearby Campus, This Is The Place to Connect With a College That May Be Ideal for You.
  • Browse Through Our List Of Online Colleges and Traditional Schools to Determine Potential Places to Earn a Degree NOW!
  • Online Courses

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
  • We're now Non-Profit.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • eLearners.com Helps You Find the Right College within Minutes.
  • Get Matched to the Perfect Medical Degree Programs From Top Colleges Here.
  • Learn at Your Own Pace and Get Qualified to Pursue a Career You Will Love.
  • Answer a Few Questions and You Are One Step Closer to Enroll in a Top College!
  • Online Courses

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!