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Palliative care seeks to maximise quality of life for individuals with terminal illness and their families. This is achieved through prevention, early identification and assessment of pain and other problems whether physical, emotional, psycho-social or spiritual.

Palliative care aims to assist patients to live as actively as possible and to preserve dignity and choice through the end of life.

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What do palliative care nurses do?
Palliative care nurses often work in teams with doctors, allied health professionals and other specialists to provide multidisciplinary clinical care. 

Palliative care nurses may be responsible for a number of roles including monitoring patients, pain management, administering medication, managing equipment, and providing patients with personal care, such as bathing and dressing.

While clinical intervention is a large part of palliative care, the role of a palliative care nurse is also to advocate for patients and their families and support them through the fear, anxiety and grief associated with terminal illness.

Palliative care nurses can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, aged care homes and other care facilities, hospice centres and private homes.  Advanced palliative care nurses may also work as educators in the field or as part of a research team.

As palliative care is applied across a range of healthcare settings including but not limited to aged care, critical care and cancer care, nurses should consider developing their knowledge and expertise in this area even if they are not palliative care specialists.  Many providers offer CPD or short courses for general or specialist nurses looking educate themselves about palliative care.

If you are interested in becoming a palliative care specialist many universities offer postgraduate education in palliative care such as a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master of Palliative Care.

To search for a range of nursing courses, click here. 

Salary for a palliative care nurse can range from $50,000 for an Enrolled Nurse to over $120,000 for a Nurse Unit Manager.

For more information about palliative care nurse salaries in Australia, click here.


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