The specialization programme in palliative nursing is based on the philosophy of the hospice movement and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of palliative care.
WHO's definition of palliative care
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.
The objective in all palliative treatment and care is to improve the quality of patients’ and next-of-kin’s lives. Palliative care neither hastens nor postpones death, but regards dying as a normal process.
Growing need for palliative competencies
As surely as we are born, we will all die. Life is vulnerable and as new-borns, it is clear how dependent we are upon others to grow up. The significance of caring for the child is essential. During the course of life, we tend to forget our vulnerability and dependence upon others. At the end of life, we are reminded of this. How we take care of each other in vulnerable life situations and at the end of life, says a lot about who we are and how human dignity is valued in our society. Several public reports have indicated that end-of-life care is a priority area at all levels in healthcare services.
The White Paper no. 47 (2008–2009) The Coordination Reform reveals a growing need for palliative units in the primary healthcare services. The shift in health-policies towards primary healthcare services increases the need for palliative care competencies.
The main objective of the programme
Students will develop their theoretical-, work-ethical and practical competencies in palliative nursing. Their skills must be integrated in such a way that they become resourceful employees at their work places and accept leadership- and development tasks within the discipline of palliative nursing.
The programme targets nurses who work or who wish to work within palliative nursing in the specialist- or primary healthcare services. People die and end their lives in all areas of healthcare services. The programme addresses nurses who want more knowledge and competence about assessing, meeting and providing professional care and treatment to people with a short lifespan.
The specialization programme is part-time and comprises 60 ECTS over two years. There are three weekly sessions per semester and the programme is therefore suitable for those who are employed. There are also two weeks of clinical practice each year. The teaching methods are varied, with lectures, reading of relevant science- and research literature, professional development work, writing of assignments and applying theory to practice through clinical practice.
Four weeks of clinical practice (two each year) are required in order to strengthen the student’s knowledge base. Clinical practice must take place at a palliative ward, centre, unit or team at a hospital or nursing home. Placement site for clinical practice is chosen in consultation with – and approved by – the University. Clinical practice can also be carried out at your own work place, community or abroad. The University has contact with the following placement sites: The Sunniva Centre for Palliative Treatment at Haraldsplass Diaconal Hospital, The palliative team at Haukeland University Hospital and The Palliative Unit at Bergen Red Cross Nursing home.