What is Palliative Care and What Does a Palliative Care Nurse Do?

What is Palliative Care and What Does a Palliative Care Nurse Do?

Posted on January 15, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Geriatric Care Management, Hospice & Palliative Care

One of the many career options in nursing profession that is in great demand of late is palliative care nursing.

Becoming a palliative care nurse requires a little more than mere nursing. You need to have some extraordinary qualifications to become a palliative care nurse, because you are not a nurse in its truest sense.

Palliative care is extended to persons who suffer from a chronic disease or ailment where the possibility of cure for that disease is very remote or impossible. In other words, as a palliative care nurse, you will be extending your professional duties knowing very well that the service will not yield the desired result of curing the patient or saving his or her life.

The motto of a registered nurse and the motto of a palliative care nurse will not and cannot be the same.

The responsibility of a registered nurse is to provide all necessary help and assistance and play an important role in saving a person’s life. This does not mean that all the patients treated by nurses will become cured and will not die or breathe their last. Death of a patient in the hands of a registered nurse is no more than an ACCIDENT. The services of a dedicated registered nurse will give new lease of life to a patient or at least even postpone the inevitable.

In case of a palliative care nursing, the responsibility will not be the same as that of a registered nurse. It is quite clear that the patient being treated by the palliative care nurse will be breathing his or her last and the services of the nurse will not make a big difference in the situation. For a palliative care nurse, the life of a patient is not important. Because, it is obvious that the treatment will not have any major impact on the patient’s life. The quality of life of a patient under palliative care gains more significance and importance than the life of that patient.

A palliative care nurse is responsible not only for taking care of the patient and treating the disease. Instead, it is the responsibility of the nurse to take care of the whole person or a patient in the deathbed counting his or her last days before the inevitable happens.

The need for palliative care nursing arises mostly for the patients in their old age. Moreover, the patient will be struggling with diseases that become difficult to cure and is slowly advancing and providing symptoms that the last day is not so far. Extending care to such patients who are both physically and mentally very weak and also engulfed with the fear that they will die sooner than later is the real challenge for a palliative care nurse and mere nursing profession will not be enough to be a successful palliative care nurse.

In addition to the skills in nursing profession and deft handling of the routine functions, a palliative care nurse should have that little extra compassion, care and love for the patient, such that he or she extends the psychological and spiritual support and assistance to the patient such that his or her last days pass with peace and qualitative satisfaction.

A palliative care nurse should have a strong mind capable of controlling emotions, present himself or herself with a smiling face before the patient and make a difference in the quality of the life of the patient.

By: Attila Hunera