How do I get a Palliative Care Education?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 December 2018
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There are a number of ways to obtain a palliative care education. Many educational institutions which train doctors, nurses, and other clinicians offer palliative care modules and advanced training in palliative care which people can take while attending school. Such programs may also be open to working clinicians or people who have finished training at other institutions who are interested in getting palliative care training. Other types of training are available through hospitals and palliative care centers.

Palliative care focuses on end of life care for patients. The goal of such care is to keep patients comfortable, rather than engaging in extreme lifesaving measures, although some lifesaving measures may well be a part of palliative care. In palliative care education, people learn about end of life care, various recommended palliative care protocols, and how to work with patients and family members during a difficult time. They also learn about the kind of conditions they are likely to encounter while working in palliative care, and about the processes of death and dying.


Clinicians who plan to specialize in palliative care can pursue advanced training through a program which offers palliative care education. Such programs are offered at some medical and nursing schools, in addition to some hospitals. Shorter courses and modules are also available to clinicians who want to be aware of palliative care options and protocols. Such courses may not be as detailed, but they provide people with information about how palliative care works, how to evaluate patients for palliative care programs, and so forth.

Clinicians who complete advanced palliative care education programs will be certified, which can be useful when seeking employment. Palliative care facilities and services which provide clinicians for home visits look for highly qualified individuals with a demonstrated interest in palliative care. Completion of a specialty program certainly demonstrates interest, and shows that someone is viewing palliative care as a potential career.

Caregivers such as family members, aides, and so forth can also attend palliative care education. Some hospitals and palliative care centers have short courses for caregivers which focus on actions they can take to make people feel more comfortable. This can be especially useful when palliative care is happening at home; caregivers can learn about massage, relaxation techniques, how to identify medical emergencies, how to administer medications, and so forth so that they can provide basic care in a home setting, with the assistance of a clinician who visits periodically.



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