What is a Palliative Care Nurse?

A palliative care nurse specialises in caring for patients with serious, often terminal illnesses. Their focus is on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and stress to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family.

What Do They Do

Palliative care nurses assess and manage pain, provide symptom control, offer emotional support, and help with end-of-life planning. They work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team to coordinate care that aligns with the patient’s goals and wishes.

Where Would You Work

These nurses work in various settings including hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, or patients’ homes. Some may also work within community palliative care teams providing outreach services.

What Qualifications Do You Need

  • Initial Nursing Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSc) or equivalent.
  • Registration: You must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
  • Specialist Qualification: Postgraduate qualification in palliative care nursing is recommended.

What Skills Are Needed

Palliative care nurses require excellent communication skills, empathy, psychological resilience, good teamwork abilities, attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and adaptability to varying patient needs.

How Do I Become One

  1. Obtain a nursing degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Register with the NMC as a qualified nurse.
  3. Gain experience in general nursing to develop core skills.
  4. Complete additional training or postgraduate coursework in palliative care.
  5. Apply for positions within palliative care settings to gain specialised experience.

Reasons To Become

Reasons include wanting to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives at a critical time; engaging in deep therapeutic relationships; the opportunity for holistic nursing practice; contributing to quality of life improvement; strong demand for skilled professionals leading to job security.

Who Would I Work With

Palliative care nurses work alongside doctors specialising in palliative medicine, social workers, chaplains or spiritual advisors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists as well as other healthcare professionals involved in providing comprehensive end-of-life care.

How Much Could You Earn

Salaries can start from around £25K for newly qualified nurses but can rise significantly with experience and specialisation. A specialist palliative carer could earn over £30K annually. Senior roles like nurse consultants or clinical nurse specialists could potentially earn £40K-£50K per year or more.