Professional Certificate in Palliative Care Nursing

This professional certificate is designed for registered nurses working in any healthcare setting who may be involved in the provision of palliative care to adult clients and their families.

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Course overview

This professional certificate short program is designed for registered nurses working in any healthcare setting who may be involved in the provision of palliative care to adult clients and their families.  It enables students to develop advanced theoretical and practical knowledge to be able to provide competent evidence informed holistic palliative care in any health setting. Students who successfully complete the course will be awarded a Professional Certificate and may be eligible for credit in other tertiary programs.

Course weighting

Equivalent to 9.0 units

Course duration

Completed over one study period (i.e.: 13 weeks of study)

Course delivery mode

Online study materials are provided to students.

Entry requirements

  • Evidence of current registration as a Registered Nurse with the relevant Nurse Registration Authority in own county or place of residence.

Aims, outcomes and content


This professional certificate aims to provide registered nurses with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to competently provide palliative care to adults in any health care setting. It provides an understanding of the standards and principles underpinning evidence based palliative care, and core concepts of holistic palliative care including physical and psychosocial care and symptom management, communication with clients and families and grief and bereavement care.


On completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the standards and principles underpinning a palliative approach in nursing care and best practice in the provision of end of life care in hospital, community and at home for culturally diverse communities.
  • Demonstrate an evidenced-based approach to assessment, decision-making and nursing interventions in the management of clients requiring holistic palliative care, including ongoing symptom management.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in compassionate communication with clients and their families, and the healthcare team in the provision of palliative care.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of Advance Care Planning and associated legislation in the provision of palliative care.
  • Critically analyse the nurse’s role in responding to ethical issues that may arise in the provision of palliative care.
  • Explore contemporary approaches to grief and bereavement in the provision of palliative care to clients and their families. 
  • Explore strategies for promoting self-care and building resilience in the nursing workforce.


The course topics include:

  • Historical perspective of palliative care
  • Palliative care standards
  • Principles of palliative care nursing
  • A public health approach to palliative care
  • Palliative care practice in various settings and for culturally diverse communities
  • Evidence based practice in palliative care nursing and end of life care including symptom assessment and management
  • Care planning for holistic patient centred end-of- life care
  • Roles in the health care team
  • Compassionate communication with clients
  • Family/significant others including barriers to effective communication
  • Strategies for effective communication; communication in  the health care team
  • Legislation and advance care planning
  • Ethical issues in palliative care
  • Grief and bereavement care for clients, families/significant others including spirituality in palliative care
  • Strategies for avoiding burnout and building resilience in the nursing workforce including self –care & debriefing.

Course delivery and assessment

This course is offered online and encourages students to be active and engaged learners through digitalised readings, online discussion forums, virtual classrooms and multi-media resources. It is expected that students have a basic knowledge of computing and reliable access to the internet.  

There are no hardcopy materials for this online course. All the materials you require can be accessed online.


Assessments consists of:

  1. Online Discussions;
  2. Essay
  3. Case Study

Course dates and fees


Study Period 6 (2nd half of the year)


  • $2,195.00

Application form

Applications should be sent to:

Academic Services Officer - Professional Development Courses
School of Nursing and Midwifery
University of South Australia
City East Campus
North Terrace
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000
Telephone: +61 8 8302 1163
Fax: +61 8 8302 2168

Application Closing Date

  • Applications for Study Period 6 admissions close on 31st of July

Withdrawal Policy

Please Note - Students must also agree to the conditions of the Withdrawal Policy (117KB PDF)

To withdraw from this course, please complete the Withdrawal Form (31KB PDF) and forward it to the address above.