Palliative Care Education – Critical for Nurses
By Caroline Boaz MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, ACHPN
California State University Shiley Institute for Palliative Care
The silver tsunami is here. What does it mean for nurses? How will the focus of your practice shift? Are you prepared? As our patients are living longer with serious and chronic illnesses, they are at increased risk of having their pain and complex symptoms under-treated. Our elders are facing long and expensive inpatient stays, treatments and surgeries that are likely futile and suffering through a prolonged dying process. This isn’t what patients and families want. Additionally, it’s this sort of care that can lead nurses and other health professionals to burnout and suffer with moral distress.
The solution lies in focusing on a plan of care that matches the patient’s preference and reflects the highest possible quality of life as defined by the patient and family. In order to provide evidence-based care in alignment with patient values and goals, we need well-trained professionals who can provide both generalist and specialist-level palliative care and function effectively as a part of an interdisciplinary team.