Nursing Practice and Palliative Care

NursingPractice and Palliative Care

NursingPractice and Palliative Care

Palliativecare refers to a specialized health care program that focuses onpeople with serious illnesses. The objective of palliative care is toenhance the health as well as the quality of life of patients withcritical illnesses and their families (WebMD, LLC, 2015). This ismainly achieved through significant reduction in pain, symptoms, andstress that is associated with the sicknesses. Palliative care isadministered by healthcare professionals with different levels ofacademic attainment, who play slightly different roles. Professionalswith the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) focus on reduction ofpain, symptoms, coping patterns, communication, and assisting clientsnavigate the system of health care (Hultman, 2013). In some cases,critical illnesses are handled by teams of health care professionalswho are led by BSN prepared nurses. For example, an interdisciplinaryteam of health care professionals comprising of advanced practicenurse, registered nurse, licensed practice nurse, and nursingassistance should be led by at least a BSN holder (Hultman, 2013).

Apartfrom the roles that are related to direct contact with patients, BSNholders have an advanced level of knowledge that allows them to playadvanced functions in the palliative care sector. For example, BSNholders can act as educators on palliative care topics, consultants,leaders, researchers, and take part in the policy making processes(Byock, 2002). A diploma prepared nurse, on the other hand, providestimely and compassionate care for critically ill patients. A diplomaholder would be expected to collaborate with the nurses’interdisciplinary teams that are formed to deliver a holistic care topalliative clients (Altranais, 2014).

Nursesare likely to face the ethical dilemma regarding the clients’ rightto make decisions affecting their health. The patient entered healthcare is based on the principle of respecting the patients’ offamilies’ wishes and helping them makes informed decisions. Thedilemma may arise when the client selects other types of care whilethe nurse is convinced that palliative care is the most appropriate.In conclusion, palliative care takes care of the critically illclients, but there are ethical dilemmas that nurses should expect toface in their practice.


Altranais,S. (2014). UCDSchool of nursing, midwife and health systems.Dublin: UCD.

Byock,I. (2002). Advancedpractice nurse role in palliative care.Missoula, MT: Practical Ethics Center.

Hultman,T. (2013). Therole of nursing in palliative care.Washington, DC: The National Academic Press.

WebMD,LLC (2015). Palliative care: The palliative care team. WebMDLLC.Retrieved January 7, 2015, from