Palliative Care Nursing: A Guide to Practice in Canada

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Palliative care nursing is a combination of compassionate and active healing therapies that are intended to comfort and support people and their families who are living with, dying because of a life-limiting illness, or are bereaved.  Students who enroll to complete practical nursing programs in the field of Palliative Care Nursing strive to do the following: 

  • Addressing the physical, social, spiritual, and psychological needs of the patients. 
  • Tending to their associated needs, hopes, fears, and expectations. 
  • In some cases, the nurses also prepare for managing the self-determined life closure and dying process. 
  • Helping families cope with loss and grief because of illness and bereavement. 

In addition, Palliative care nursing in Canada also enables a professional to treat all the active health problems, prevent new problems from occurring, promote new opportunities for meaningful experiences, facilitate personal growth, etc.  Since the role played by the Palliative Care nurses is so important in saving people from life-threatening diseases, Palliative care nursing programs in Ontario are one of the best study options.  Below mentioned is a guide to practice Palliative care nursing in Canada. Keep reading to know more. 

Choosing Palliative Care Nursing: 

Palliative care is the practice of treating patients who are dealing with complex pain and chronic disease symptoms. The nurses are meant to learn healing patient care techniques that are considered extremely important for enhancing patient care. If you choose to pursue nursing education in Palliative care then you must keep in mind that the field demands a compassionate mindset.  You will be often required to deal with patients who have been suffering from a prolonged and serious illness. While you heal them, you will also be needed to be at your compassionate best. All through the course of studying Palliative care nursing in Canada, you will be able to manage the pain and symptoms of patients while the doctor focuses on treatment.  This kind of care is considered suitable for any person and family that has been living with or is at risk of developing a serious disease due to a diagnosis, prognosis, irrespective of the age, and at any time they have unmet expectations. Palliative care can sometimes complement disease-modifying treatments as well and is most effectively delivered when nurses work in tandem with multidisciplinary healthcare teams that are knowledgeable and skilled in all aspects of the caring process.  The nurses are educated by some of the best nursing colleges in Canada that are governed by new healthcare standards. Once the nurses complete their education, they are accountable for professional conduct set by licensing bodies and professional associations. Trained Palliative care nurses are in fact equal, invaluable, and essential members of healthcare teams. 

Palliative Care Nursing Program – What to Expect? 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Palliative Care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems 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.  When students choose to study the Palliative Care nursing programs in Ontario, they are introduced to some of the most important concepts and problems faced by nurses in offering Palliative care to terminally ill patients. They study topics such as quality of life, research, and updated trends in medical treatments, social, personal, and cultural aspects of death. In addition, they are also offered an in-depth clarification of stress-causing habits, and values to be inculcated in the process of caregiving.  Since Palliative care is offered to patients who are suffering from prolonged and severe illnesses under different health conditions, the students learn about treatment and care plans to be provided in the context of health problems and conditions of patients.  After the successful completion of nursing education in Palliative Care Nursing, a student will be able to: 

  • Offer relief to patients who are suffering from pain and other distressing symptoms. 
  • Have a life ward approach while regarding death as a normal process of living. 
  • Neither hasten nor postpone death in some circumstances. 
  • Include psychological and spiritual aspects while offering healthcare services. 
  • Work as a support system to help patients live an active life until death. 
  • Be a support system for families who are coping with the patient’s illness and in some cases bereavement. 
  • Use a healthcare team approach to address the needs of patients and their families including bereavement counselling, if needed. 
  • Enhance the quality of life and positively influence the entire course of illness. 
  • Work in tandem with other healthcare therapies that are aimed at prolonging life. 

Scope of Working after Completing Palliative Care: 

In Canada, all people and their families living with and dying from life-threatening diseases have access to nurses who offer compassionate care. This care lessens the burden of suffering and also improves the quality of life. Hence, your mission will be to bring specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the delivery of comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate care to all people who have life-threatening diseases.  With a dedicated commitment to public and professional advancement, your goal will be to inspire patients to strive for achieving the highest possible quality of life while being in the illness continuum.   With the assistance of graduate courses in Palliative Care, you will be able to gain in-depth knowledge about the relevance of Palliative care for patients. There will be field experts to guide you and supervise you in the learning process so that you can acquire hands-on experience with practical sessions and field projects. Once graduated, you will be able to offer your services in healthcare settings like the emergency departments, intensive care units, nursing homes, long-term care agencies, etc.  As you care for patients across their lifespan, you will play the role of effective advocates for health and wellness at each stage of life. However, in offering end-of-life care where the nurses have a constant and a visible role, you will be increasingly focused on the different wishes and requirements of all patients. Hence, it is important for nurses to feel supported and prepared while speaking to patients and families about end-of-life care both from an ethical and medical point of view. 

Guiding Standards in Palliative Care Nursing: 

There are some healthcare values that the nurses must focus on while caring for the patients who are fighting terminally ill diseases.  

1. Quality of Living and Dying: 

A Palliative care nurse should focus on the quality of experience that a person goes through and dying from a life-limiting disease along with the experience of the family.  In addition, a nurse should also have respect for personal meetings, needs, and hopes for the person who is living in the last phase of his/her life.  

2. Convenience: 

All nurses should use the knowledge-based systematic, holistic and evolving approach to address some symptoms and problems such as living and death experiences.  

3. Transition: 

The nurse providers should care all through multiple illnesses or life-limiting diseases which might occur in a short period of time only or may even be there for a longer period of time.  The nurses are also meant to support the patients and his/her family all through these transitions, the dying process, and the grief and bereavement process as well. The nurse should in fact assist a person and a family to access and navigate the healthcare system.  

4. Quality and Safety:

While completing the nursing education, a Palliative care nurse is required to learn to work along with policies, legislation, information sharing, decision making, advance care planning, etc.  This makes sure that the entire process of pronouncement of death, after-death care, and grief support is offered in a safe way.  

5. Leadership: 

A Palliative care nurse should advocate for and promote high-quality and safe nursing care. The nurse should advance the process all through the generation while also focusing on the application of knowledge and research.  A Palliative care nurse is known as an important part of the interprofessional team. This is why he/she should establish collegial partnerships that contribute to the overall professional development of colleagues, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.  

6. Personal and Professional Growth:

Palliative care nursing should recognize the challenges and privileges that come with working with a patient who is living-dying.  That said, a nurse should also understand from personal experience in response to suffering and death. It is important to recognize personal needs and practice self-care while experiencing losses during the care of people who are dying. 


In case you are determined to work in the medical care field as a Palliative care provider, then planning your education in Canada will be the best step forward in acquiring expertise in offering Palliative caregiving.  By enrolling in a reputed Palliative care nursing course in one of the best nursing colleges in Canada, you can become capable of helping patients and their families to make their life comfortable and peaceful. 


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