The challenge to a palliative care nurse is quite different from other types of nursing works such as pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing, oncology nursing or long-term general care nursing activities.
Before discussing the role of a palliative care nurse, let us try to understand what does the word palliative care actually means?
If a patient, generally old-aged person, is suffering from a disease where it is impossible to get cured and he or she is numbering his or her last days, or in other words, nearing death, then palliative care is showered upon such a patient so that he or she does not suffer from the pain or worry about either the disease or the inevitable, and instead spend the remaining days of his or her life in the best possible manner qualitatively.
In simple terms, through the means of palliative care, what the nurse intends to do is to provide ways and means to enhance the quality of life of the person in the death bed, so that he or she meets the inevitable amid a happy environment and not unnecessarily worry about the inevitable, either physically through pain or mentally.
The services extended to a patient in his or her deathbed is the responsibility of the palliative care nurse. Can you visualize the difference in the role of a palliative care nurse and other types of nurses? Yes – you got it right. The primary objective of a registered nurse or any other nurse, other than palliative care nurse or hospice nurse, is to make an impact in a patient’s life and ensure that the patient recovers from the disease and becomes a normal person once again.
In the case of palliative care nurse, he or she know pretty well that the inevitable is the only outcome and what he or she does is to make the inevitable more peaceful with least or no worry and satisfaction of living a quality life albeit for a few days up to the inevitable event.
The role of a palliative care nurse is clearly defined. It is the responsibility of a palliative care nurse to help the patient experience a relatively higher quality of life by relieving the patient from the suffering due to disease, arresting and controlling the symptoms of disease from affecting the mental state, and above all, helping the patient achieve functional capacity of movement.