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NUR9203 - Palliative care nursing practice

12 points, SCA Band 0, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr Susan Lee


Peninsula Second semester 2007 (Day)
Peninsula Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)


The unit prepares student for the role of a specialist palliative care nurse. Topics of content include the philosophical and developmental trends of the hospice and palliative care movement, interdisciplinary team roles and the family, cultural and spiritual aspects of death and dying. Medical, nursing and complementary therapies utilised in the care of patients with terminal illnesses are discussed. Assessment and symptom management strategies in mental status, pain control and other common physical symptoms are explored. Activities in the unit include fieldwork, literature review, and computer conferencing for the study of current research in symptom management and palliative care.


On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. analyse the difficulties faced by persons when they encounter death, dying and bereavement;
  2. critique the philosophies which govern palliative care and the hospice movement as the means for improving care;
  3. conceptualise the philosophy of caring as it applies to nursing and palliative care;
  4. develop a personal construct of spirituality and contrast this with the spiritual constructs of others;
  5. analyse the collaborative interdisciplinary team approach to palliative care;
  6. apply the principles of crisis intervention to prevent, identify and alleviate care giver stress and burnout;
  7. design appropriate patient assessment tools for holistic assessment in palliative care;
  8. discuss the role of the multi disciplinary team in the provision of effective symptom control and prevention;
  9. analyse a range of innovative approaches to palliative nursing care that enhance the quality of life of palliative care clients; and
  10. identify resources for all aspects of palliative care in a range of health care settings.


Written assignment: 40%
Fieldwork report: 20%
Literature review: 30%
Contribution to computer conferencing activities: 10%