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Online Palliative Nursing Courses

Palliative or end-of-life care courses are generally included in certificate programs for nurses and others in health care. This article outlines several of the options for those seeking online courses.

Popular Online Courses in Palliative Nursing

Some of the more commonly offered palliative nursing courses include:

  • Principles of Palliative Care Course: An overview of end-of-life care and exploration of its philosophy and practices are included in this course. Students learn key concepts like assessment, pain management and patient care, in addition to addressing bereavement, communication and family needs.
  • Death, Dying and Grief Course: Students discuss the grieving process while exploring cultural, ethical, social and legal issues of dying. They learn about patient care within this context, as well as the impact of loss on families and loved ones.
  • Symptom Management Course: This course provides strategies for managing pain under a palliative model. Students explore a broad approach to care that often covers the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the patient.
  • Cultural and Ethical Issues Course: Students learn about factors that influence end-of-life decisions, including culture, economics, politics, religion and society. They discuss these issues as they relate to patients and their families.
  • Common Health Problems Across the Adult Lifespan: This course is designed to introduce students to the most frequently occurring diseases and ailments as the body ages and will instruct them on how to identify and treat these common maladies.
  • Spirituality in Palliative Care: In this course, nurses learn about different spiritual beliefs and practices related to death and dying. They examine relevant ancient texts and religious scriptures, and analyze how these concepts can be applied in a modern hospice care setting.
  • Holistic Therapies in Palliative Care: This course describes the complementary and integrative therapies that may be beneficial for individuals as they near the end of life. Students learn how different therapeutic techniques can be valuable for palliative care at different stages.

Program Information

Palliative nursing courses prepare students for a broad range of scenarios in working with seriously or terminally ill patients and their families. Most palliative nursing programs are offered at the graduate certificate level; some master's degrees are available as well.

Online palliative nursing programs allow students to maintain their jobs while continuing their education; however, due to the nature of palliative nursing, some programs may require practical in-person work. Distance education courses in palliative nursing might serve as preparation for one of the seven certifications offered through the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC).

To prepare for work in palliative care, nurses can take online courses that emphasize both the physical and mental aspects of dying.


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