Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

Filling in the Gaps: What Medical Professionals need to know about Palliative Care Nurses

Higher Education Articles August 17, 2013

Palliative care nurses are on the forefront of modern health care because of the vital and unique need they serve in bridging the gap between those who are seriously ill and those who require hospice care. As medical technology innovations continue to revolutionize the health care landscape, an inevitable outcome is that patients are living longer and even surviving diseases that were once thought to be a certain death sentence. While that news is welcome to patients and families, it also comes with a steep price—longer life frequently means more suffering. For instance, Medwire News recently reported that Medicare’s SNF (Skilled Nursing Facilities) benefit for the last six months of life, which does not cover most palliative and hospice care, is over-utilized for elderly adults whose expected outcome is death.

In view of these life and death realities, palliative care is an emerging trend in nursing practice. But what is palliative care, and what do nurses need to know about it?

Palliative Care Defined

According to GetPalliativeCare.org, a site dedicated to helping people cope with serious illnesses, palliative care is “specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness.” The Last Acts Task Force similarly defined palliative care as “the comprehensive management of the physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and existential needs of patients, particularly those with incurable, progressive illness.”

The desired outcome for palliative care nurses is to improve the quality of life for patients who have been diagnosed with illnesses that cause great pain and discomfort, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), cancer, dementia, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure, among many others. Whereas hospice patients are expected to live a month or less, palliative care patients will generally live longer.

Palliative care is aimed at ameliorating symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, and breathing difficulties, so that patients can regain their strength and live more fulfilling lives in the time they have left. Palliative care also supports the families of afflicted patients by alleviating their agony from seeing a loved one in pain.

Palliative Care Nursing Duties

Palliative care nurses work in an interdisciplinary, collaborative context. They work with a team of providers, such as treating physicians, social workers, volunteers, home health aides, family members, and chaplains. These nurses provide expert management of pain and discomfort through medication, as ordered by physicians.

Palliative care nurses provide an even more important service to those who are suffering. Palliative care nurses have expert training in compassionate listening and counseling skills. They are able to interact with patients in a respectful, empathetic, and culturally sensitive manner, and they understand loss, grief, and end-of-life processes.

Hospice nurses provide similar care, but since their patients have a poorer prognosis, they generally work in a home or hospice setting. Palliative care nurses, however, treat patients who are likely to live for longer periods, so they work in medical facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes.

Palliative Care Nursing Professional Organizations

There are several professional associations that support palliative care nurses, advance the interests of palliative care, and educate the general public. The Hospital and Palliative Nurses Association accepts nurses of all levels as members, and provides materials for educators, researchers, students, patients, families, and other medical practitioners. Its goal is to provide education, networking, and mentoring, and it also supports research about palliative care. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization provide news, career resources, and education, including online learning. It also contains a searchable database of palliative care providers. Finally, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine allows palliative care nurses to join as affiliate members, which provides access to research, practice tools, clinical guidelines, and research.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
South University , Glen Allen
  • Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.
  • Graduate-level specialization options include Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and more.
  • Nursing programs are available at many of the 11 campus locations across the United States.
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Why study nursing at Grand Canyon University?
  • Our bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing are CCNE-accredited and the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions (CONHCP) is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • We provide many options to prepare you to begin or advance your nursing career, including bridge programs and dual degrees.
  • GCU provides a low student-to-teacher ratio and a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients.
  • Request more information today about program offerings, CCNE accreditation, start dates, financial aid and more!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
Fortis Institute , Grand Prairie
  • Apply At Fortis College Today! Explore the Career Programs.
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
3 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
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
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
3 Program(s) Found
  • Summarize the roles, functions, and impacts of an effective healthcare manager.
  • Evaluate existing research using quantitative statistical tools to assist in healthcare management decision making.
  • Identify, evaluate, and respond to common types of healthcare ethical dilemmas.
  • Describe the value of personal and professional development, community service, and life-long learning in healthcare management.
  • Evaluate the impact of information systems and technology on healthcare processes and the securing of health information.
  • Analyze the strategic impact of human resource development and management on healthcare organizations.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Education Connection is a 100% Free College Matching Service used by 50,000 People Daily.
  • Get Matched to Psychology, Counseling, Human Services, Organizational, and Clinical Psychology Degree Programs and MORE.
  • View Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate and Graduate Certificate Degree Programs in Psychology and Human Services Near YOU!
  • Accredited and Flexible Psychology Degree Programs to Fit Your Time and Budget. Use Our Matching Service - It's Easy and FREE!
  • Online Courses

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
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
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!