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Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Programs

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The Nurse Practitioner Role Is Ideally Suited For Palliative Care Practice: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

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Palliative care is an approach to caring for individuals with life-threatening health conditions, with the focus being best quality of life . It involves effective symptom management to address the physiological manifestations of diseases interventions to promote the social, spiritual, and emotional well-being of patients and their families and end-of-life care to support patients greatest comfort and dignity when death is imminent . Palliative care is recommended not only for cancer, but for any chronic life-threatening condition for example, heart and kidney failure and various neurological diseases . With the high prevalence and expected growth of chronic diseases not only in Canada, but worldwide, the need for PC is great now and will become even more so in the future .

Dnp In Palliative Care

MUSC College of Nursing is a national leader in palliative care education.

The Post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice in Palliative Care degree offers the working nurse an opportunity to demonstrate expertise and gain a deeper understanding of the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of patients and families affected by serious illness. To best meet the needs of the working nurse our courses are delivered through an accessible, asynchronous online format.

Palliative Care Education at MUSC

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual .

As a leader in palliative care education, the MUSC College of Nursing has been recognized for its holistic approach to emphasizing the value in palliative care, and since 2017, has expanded its palliative care education to include undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. Students are now graduating with End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium training to better prepare them to care for individuals with serious illness and their families.


MUSC Post-Masters DNP in Palliative Care prepares students to:

From The Program Director

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Arizona. Our fellowship offers you the opportunity to train at a world renowned institution with a long history of providing patient centered care.

The Mayo Clinic Mission is to inspire hope and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education, and research with the primary value of putting the needs of the patient first. Palliative Medicine achieves this through a multidisciplinary team approach consisting of physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, social workers, and chaplaincy. Each of these individuals brings a unique and highly valued skill set to the team for the benefit of patients and their families.

Our fellowship offers fellows a comprehensive educational experience including inpatient and outpatient Palliative Medicine and hospice opportunities. Our institution has enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with Hospice of the Valley. Founded in Phoenix in 1977, Hospice of the Valley is the largest not-for-profit hospice in the country.

Graduates from our program will possess the expertise to manage a wide range of complex symptoms. You will be adept in highly complex communication. You will also possess the skills needed to pursue careers in either academic or community practices in both hospice and palliative medicine.

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How To Become A Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

If you’re interested in becoming a palliative care nurse practitioner, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We’ve determined that 41.5% of palliative care nurse practitioners have a bachelor’s degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 32.2% of palliative care nurse practitioners have master’s degrees. Even though most palliative care nurse practitioners have a college degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Components Of Palliative Care

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In a palliative care facility, the palliative care team consists of doctors and nurse practitioners that work together to help patients meet their life goals. They help relieve symptoms that disrupt the patients ability to live their life by adjusting pain medications and diet, help patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options, clarify treatment goals, and coordinate care with other doctors. Most importantly, they work with patients to help them make medical decisions that best align with the patients life goals and philosophy.

Palliative care in the United States has primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Primary palliative care encompasses the basic skills of palliative care and thus can be practiced by nurse practitioners. Secondary palliative care is practiced by clinicians who provide patients with more complex diseases with a consultative approach and specialist knowledge. Finally, tertiary palliative care is practiced at cutting-edge medical research and academic facilities. This is where field advancements are being made.

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What Does A Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Do

There are certain skills that many palliative care nurse practitioners have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, compassion and detail oriented.

Resources For Hospice & Palliative Care Nps

To learn more about the work and advocacy of hospice and palliative care NPs, check out some of the resources below.

  • Center to Advance Palliative Care : The nations leading resource in its field, CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality healthcare for people living with a serious illness. They provide healthcare professionals and organizations with the training, tools, and technical assistance necessary to effectively meet this need.
  • CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care: The CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care provides online, evidence-based, practice-focused education for healthcare professionals working in palliative and serious illness care. Their consists of nine months of comprehensive training for NPs working in palliative care. The Institute also offers resources for nursing faculty seeking to integrate palliative care content into undergraduate and graduate-level curriculum.
  • Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association : Established in 1986, HPNA is the national professional organization that represents the specialty of palliative nursing, which includes hospice and palliative nurses. They support the profession through education programs, research initiatives, and advocacy.

Background information and resources were provided by Jennifer Moore Ballentine, MA, Executive Director of the CSU Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care.

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Advocacy Issues For Hospice & Palliative Care Nps

One of the top advocacy issues for hospice and palliative care NPs is increasing awareness of and access to hospice and palliative care. A 2015 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 90 percent of adults believe that healthcare providers should discuss end-of-life issues with their patients, but only 17 percent of adults say theyve had such conversations. Hospice and palliative care NPs are pushing to remove the fear from such discussions and push them into normalcy.

We need more palliative care NPs who work in the hospital and work in the community, Dahlin says. By having palliative care NPs in geriatric clinics, in pediatric clinics, and in heart failure clinics, patients can start to see palliative care as a natural extension of traditional care.

Access to hospice and palliative care is an even more severe issue in marginalized communities. Marginalized communities include patients who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, but they also include patients with serious mental illnesses, dual diagnoses, substance abuse disorders, and other complicating factors.

There are a lot of people whose experience with healthcare has not engendered trust, and those are the people who get diagnosed late, Dahlin says. But then how do we still help them foster their own goals, with their own way of integrity? Its a challenge because some of the resources still arent there.

The Future For Hospice & Palliative Care Nps

Palliative Care Nurse Practitioners provide support to the dying in their homes.

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, there will be an even greater need for hospice and palliative care NPs. While Baby Boomers have a longer life expectancy than previous generations, they also have higher rates of chronic disease and lower self-rated health than past generations.

Theres definitely a shortage of palliative care and hospice providers, Dr. Rausch says. But Baby Boomers are more educated in terms of whats available to them for healthcare. Theyre savvier and they know that there are different options. They ask tough questions and push the envelope. I think thats good for hospice and palliative care.

In 2021, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing released the latest version of its core competencies for professional nursing education. The new core competencies are split into four spheres of care, and one of those spheres is hospice and palliative care. While it will take some time to go into full effect, it means that graduate-level NP preparation programs are now mandated to include content on hospice and palliative care.

There is truly a fine art to end-of-life care and palliative care, Dr. Rausch says. I think that people are starting to see that those who are dying deserve more than just hand-holding and that there is a real science to it. Theres a lot more research thats shining a light on our field, and thats exciting to me.

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Palliative Care Professional Certification

Physician: American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine can provide you with the most up-to-date information on certification for hospice and palliative medicine physicians.

Nurse: Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association currently offers five hospice and palliative certification exams for advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, pediatric palliative nurses, nursing assistants, and those dealing with perinatal loss. They also maintain two other hospice and palliative credentials for licensed practical/vocational nurses and administrators.

Social Worker: National Association of Social Workers offers the Advanced Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Social Worker credential, created in 2008 with the support and partnership of NHPCO at the MSW level. The ACHP-SW is the premier credential for social workers in end-of-life care and those who practice social work in pain and symptom management.

Chaplain: National Association of Catholic Chaplainsand BCCI recognize the expertise, specialized skills, advanced education, and unique experience of professional palliative care and hospice chaplains with an advanced certification beyond the Board Certified Chaplain designation.

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Become A Certified Np

Certification from an accredited national certification organization is the final step in the career path as a hospice nurse practitioner. The Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center offers several certification options. Another recognized credentialing body is the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization .

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What Do Hospice Nurse Practitioners Do

Hospice NPs are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who specialize in hospice care. They primarily provide care to patients with diagnosed illnesses like cancer, dementia, heart failure, and other diseases that typically shorten the patients lifespan to around six months.

Hospice care focuses on pain management to improve the quality of life for however long the patient has left to live. Hospice NPs collaborate with other members of the hospice care team, including physicians, social workers, spiritual advisers, and bereavement counselors.

A large part of their job involves continually assessing hospice patient medications to ensure they dont cause the patient discomfort.

Some other common duties of a hospice NP include:

  • Advocate for patients and their families to ensure they receive the best possible care
  • Administer and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Create, manage, and update patient care plans, as needed
  • Dispense medications and other treatments to patients in hospice care facilities
  • Perform physical exams

Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

What is a Palliative Nurse

Basic description

A palliative care nurse practitioner provides comprehensive care to patients and families living with a terminal illness. They could develop practice protocols for end-of-life care, educate other clinicians about palliative care, conduct research to expand knowledge about palliative care, and assume administrative roles in health care organizations.

Educational requirements

Registered nurse license and Nurse Practitioner certification are required most positions require 1 year of acute care experience certification is offered by the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses.

Core competencies/skills needed

Advanced knowledge and preparation in pain and symptom management and end-of-life care Sensitivity to the needs of terminally ill patients and their families Knowledge of hospice regulations and standards of care Excellent communication and assessment skills Strong computer and documentation skills Ability to work with an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, social workers, dietitians, and unlicensed assistive personnel

Related Web sites and professional organizations

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses Center for Advance Palliative Care

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Adult Advanced Practice Hospice And Palliative Care Nurse Specialty

The focus of this post-masters certificate is to further prepare certified APRNs to provide high quality hospice and palliative care services. Advanced practice palliative care nursing serves patients, families, and caregivers during serious, progressive illnesses. Palliative care APRNs provide holistic care that focuses on disease management, symptom relief, emotional distress, care transitions, and loss.

Unique Features

  • Prepare for certification as an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse , offered through the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center .
  • Madonna University pioneered offerings of formal higher education in hospice and palliative care for APRNs
  • Program provides preparation for providing expert hospice and palliative care services for adults and families experiencing serious, progressive illness.
  • Your clinical courses will be taught by practicing palliative care APRNs.

Life As A Hospice & Palliative Care Np

Palliative care, and especially hospice care, can involve some difficult decisions and challenging conversations. Hospice and palliative care NPs are well-suited for this: nursing has been ranked as the most trusted profession in America for 19 years in a row, and NPs who specialize in this field are experts in guiding patients to the goals and decisions that are best for them.

In the United States theres still this vision that death is optional, Dahlin says. But no matter what our politics are, we are born into this world and we will leave it. The question then is what does that path look like?

One of the biggest jobs as a palliative care NP is to talk about goals of care, and to really listen to what the patients want, Dr. Rausch says. When I first meet a patient, I tell them that this is their journey, and theyre driving, and Im just along for the ride. Im with them to the end, and they can dictate how we go, and how we get there.

Hospice and palliative care NPs need to have sharp clinical skills, but they also need to be adept at managing personal relationships: theyll interact not only with patients but with their family members, too.

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Hospice & Palliative Studies

The hospice and palliative studies certificate is recommended for students who wish to supplement an existing graduate degree and/or those desiring to enhance their knowledge base for advanced work within the field of hospice and palliative care. This certificate provides students with a strong foundation regarding the core concepts and philosophy of interdisciplinary hospice care.

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Suzanne Nesbit is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Nesbit is currently on the Palliative Medicine Service and the Neuroscience Pain Resource Team at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a Clinical Specialist in Pain Management and Palliative Care with the Department of Pharmacy. She has been practicing in pain management for over 30 years. During her tenure at Johns Hopkins, she has participated in several research protocols and pain initiatives. Dr Nesbit is Co-Chair of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Pain Management Committee that is charged with reviewing current pain protocols and making any recommendations for improvements in clinical care and staff education regarding pain management. More recently, she Co-Chairs The Johns Hopkins Health System Opioid Stewardship Clinical Community.

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Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program In Hospice And Palliative Care

The purpose of the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner fellowship training program at Michigan Medicine is to promote excellence in palliative care education, to develop experts in the field, and to ensure patients with serious illness receive evidence based, high quality patient centered care.

This one-year comprehensive post-graduate fellowship program will allow new graduates and experienced nurse practitioners to acquire clinical expertise in hospice and palliative care through a variety of clinical, educational and research opportunities during their training.

Hospice and Palliative NP fellows will actively engage other nurse practitioners, faculty and medical teams to increase the level of awareness of palliative care as an emerging nurse practitioner sub-specialty. They will serve as ambassadors to other advanced practice nurses for expert serious illness care, as members of the palliative care team.

Over recent years, Michigan Medicine and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System have developed and supported highly successful interdisciplinary palliative care programs. The robust palliative care clinical structure at Michigan Medicine and the strong educational structure of the HPM physician fellowship will serve as the foundation for the NP Fellowship program. The Hospice and Palliative NP Fellows will be taught and supervised by highly qualified Michigan Medicine interdisciplinary staff and faculty.

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