Palliative care nurses work with individuals and families facing a life limiting illness. They will cover many areas, work at many levels and have many different responsibilities. Palliative care nurses work within the interdisciplinary team, but will often coordinate care in consultation with clients, their carers and other team members. Palliative care can be provided in many settings of care including homes (and nursing homes), hospitals and in hospices.
Patients with life limiting illnesses can be found in almost all areas of health care. Nurses working in other specialty areas, such as oncology, aged care, ICU, or community care may want to consider incorporating a palliative approach to the care they provide. A palliative approach aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with a life limiting illness and their families. Referral to a specialist palliative care service is not required by all patients and generally occurs to help with assessment and treatment of complex symptoms.
There are a variety of pathways that can lead to palliative care nursing. As a new graduate, you can seek out employment in palliative care agencies which can include community palliative care and in-patient hospices. These services generally offer specific education and skill development opportunities.
For those already working as a nurse, there are a number of short courses and post-graduate courses available with a focus on palliative care nursing in many States.
If you would like to share your story as a palliative care nurse so that others may understand the roles and opportunities in palliative care please send us an email.