Responsibilities of a palliative care nurse

One of the specialized options in the nursing career available to a qualified nurse is to become a palliative care nurse.

The role of a palliative care nurse is different from other types of nurses in that he or she will have to provide end-of-life care to a patient, contrary to the role of other nurses which is to provide general care and save the patient’s health from further deterioration.

The need for palliative care nurses arise only in cases where the patient is chronically ill and there is no chance of his or her getting cured from the disease, and the patient has no other option but to wait for the inevitable thing of death to happen.

Knowing pretty well that the patient is unlikely to survive for a longer period, the palliative care nurse has to ensure that the patient spends his or her last few days peacefully and qualitatively. How can a patient live a qualitative life? Well. As a palliative care nurse, he or she can protect the patient from medical intervention which might cause or aggravate pain. Palliative care nurse need not compulsorily work in the hospital. He or she can treat the patient in the home atmosphere which would be more comfortable to the patient than the hospital.

The additional benefit of treating patients by palliative care nurses is that the patient can breathe his or her last, when the family members and friends are around, in the home itself, instead of meeting the inevitable in the lonely atmosphere of hospital.

Palliative care nurses are entrusted the responsibility of ensuring that the patient is provided the best quality of life where he or she is provided relief from the pain or suffering due to illness. The nurse, aware of the symptoms of deterioration, should ensure that the symptoms are effectively controlled and the functional capability of the person is not affected due to deterioration of the disease or symptoms.

A fresh, but qualified nurse, may not be suitable for palliative care nursing. He or she should have taken up certification course introduced for this specialized field of nursing. Experience in providing emotional, psychosocial and spiritual care to the patient will be added advantage to become a palliative care nurse.

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