National Palliative Care Week (NPCW), which runs from 19-25 May 2019, aims to increase awareness and understanding of palliative care within the Australian community.
The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is proud to continually set the benchmark when it comes to advocating for better standards of palliative care. Our End of Life Care Policy Chapter recently released a White Paper advocating that personalised care and support is provided to those with life-limiting illnesses.
The brand new Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care, which is currently open to applications for the July intake, is another example of ACN’s dedication to raising the quality of palliative care across Australia. We caught up with course coordinator Ashley Page MACN to discuss the importance of training nurses in palliative care and the benefits of ACN’s new Graduate Certificate.
- Why do you think palliative care nursing is vital to the health and well-being of our society?
The aim of palliative care is to improve and sustain quality of life for the patient and their family. This care is regardless of age and specific diagnosis but is based on the patients and family needs.
Nurses spend more time with patients and families than any other health professionals and are well placed to provide support and care as they face serious illness.
With palliative care being provided in almost all clinical settings, the role of the nurse needs to be able to focus holistically on the patient and family as the unit of care, and to combine advanced skills in assessment, diagnosis and management.
- Why would you encourage a nurse to specialise in this area of practice?
Specialist palliative care nurses don’t just focus on specific tasks such as vital signs, treatment and intervention but provide comfort, symptom management and ongoing support to the patient and their families. Nurses often develop deep connections with these patients and even provide guidance and education to help families cope and to make them feel like they can take an active part in offering comfort and acceptance.
- What do you think our students gain from our Palliative Care Graduate Certificate?
This course aims to provide the palliative care nurse with the education and skills to be able to adapt to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient and their families.
- Why is it important that ACN provides a platform for nurses to expand their knowledge and skills in these areas through these graduate certificates?
This course was identified as necessary and supported by a team of clinical experts working in the specialty. ACN courses prepare students for advanced practice as registered nurses with skills in critical decision-making, leadership and evidence based practice.