Graduate Certificate of Palliative Care Nursing

The Graduate Certificate of Palliative Care Nursing offered to registered nurses employed at St Vincent’s Health Australia is developed and delivered in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame Australia. It stands out as the first palliative care program for nurses among universities in Australia. It provides a career pathway for registered nurses to gain postgraduate qualifications in palliative care nursing and is not only ideal for nurses seeking to specialise in palliative care but also for generalist nurses aiming to enhance their capabilities in caring for dying or terminally ill patients, regardless of the healthcare setting.

This comprehensive program emphasises holistic, person-centred approach, integrating effective communication, cultural and spiritual sensitivity, assessment and symptom management, and the application of evidence-based practices. Through four integrated courses, students will explore the principles and standards of palliative care, engage in empathetic communication that supports shared decision-making with patients, families, and healthcare teams, manage complex symptoms using both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches, and apply research findings to improve nursing practice.

This program combines the expertise of academic and clinical industry leaders to offer a blended learning approach that emphasises evidence-based practices and equips nurses with the advanced skills needed to provide compassionate, high-quality palliative care, ultimately improving patient outcomes and quality of life.

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney (SVHS) offers two focused post graduate courses that articulate with the University of Notre Dame (UNDA) postgraduate program:

  • Person Centred Approach in Palliative Care Nursing
  • Clinical Management in Palliative Care Nursing

UNDA offers the following two courses:

  • Evidence based practice.
  • Contemporary palliative care nursing practice.

An overview of the subjects that will contribute to the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care nursing:

 

Features of the Course

  • Hybrid delivery: This course is delivered in a hybrid model with study materials, lectures, weekly discussions, drop-in sessions and talks by expert practitioners.
  • Educational and Clinical Support: Emphasis is placed on adult learning principles, which encourage individuals to take accountability and responsibility for personal and professional development. The Nurse Educator’s responsibility is in teaching participants effective learning strategies such as independent and/or self-directed learning. This type of learning contributes to personal and professional growth, promotes lifelong learning, and enables the individual to pursue excellence in patient care.
  • Study Days: study days are allocated for focused learning across both SVHS courses. Content of these Study Days is designed to complement the theoretical content of tertiary programs. Teaching and learning strategies may include lectures and tutorials, literature appraisal, discussions, assessments, workshops, self-directed learning opportunities and presentations.

Partnership with University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA)

The graduate certificate in Palliative Care nursing is delivered in partnership with UNDA. To complete the program students must undertake a total of four (4) courses:

1.Contemporary palliative care nursing practice (offered by UNDA)

Course description

This course enhances students' understanding of the integral role of an evidence-based framework and contextual application of research findings in nursing practice. It covers the inquiry process (ask, acquire, appraise, apply), the quality and appropriateness of research for translation into practice, and foundational methods in research and evidence-based practice. Students learn to develop clinical questions, search literature, identify study designs, critically appraise evidence, and apply frameworks to translate evidence into practice. The course also emphasizes the importance of considering patient and family values, as well as organisational, ethical, and policy contexts in applying research evidence.

2. Person Centred approach in palliative care nursing (offered by SVHS)

Course description

This course aims to enhance the practical skills necessary for providing high-quality, compassionate palliative care. It emphasizes effective communication, principles and practices of person-centred care, and the cultural, spiritual, and psychosocial considerations critical to palliative care. Additionally, it addresses self-care for health professionals to manage burnout, compassion fatigue, and moral distress. Combining theoretical learning with practical application, this course equips students with advanced skills and knowledge to optimize person-centred care in diverse palliative care settings.

3. Clinical Management in Palliative Care nursing (offered by SVHS)

Course description

This course provides an in-depth exploration of symptom management, focusing on comprehensive patient assessment and the holistic approach to care. Students will learn to utilize various assessment tools, understand the management of pain and respiratory symptoms, and address gastrointestinal and other common symptoms encountered in palliative care. The course integrates both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches, equipping students with the knowledge and skills to manage complex symptoms effectively and improve the quality of life for palliative care patients.
The course “Contemporary palliative care nursing practice” is a prerequisite for the two SVHS courses, Person Centred approach in palliative care nursing and Clinical Management in Palliative Care nursing and should be done prior to undertaking or concurrently with the SVHS courses.

4. Clinical Management in Palliative Care nursing (offered by SVHS)

Course description

This course provides an in-depth exploration of symptom management, focusing on comprehensive patient assessment and the holistic approach to care. Students will learn to utilize various assessment tools, understand the management of pain and respiratory symptoms, and address gastrointestinal and other common symptoms encountered in palliative care. The course integrates both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches, equipping students with the knowledge and skills to manage complex symptoms effectively and improve the quality of life for palliative care patients.

The course “Contemporary palliative care nursing practice” is a prerequisite for the two SVHS courses, Person Centred approach in palliative care nursing and Clinical Management in Palliative Care nursing and should be done prior to undertaking or concurrently with the SVHS courses.

Course Duration

The SVHS Palliative Care Nursing courses commence in February and conclude in December; courses are undertaken sequentially throughout the year.

UNDA courses must be completed either concurrently with the SVHS courses or within 18 months from the acceptance into the Postgraduate Palliative Care Nursing Program.

Nomenclature of Award

On successful completion of the St Vincent’s Hospital Postgraduate Palliative Care Nursing Courses a SVHS Certificate of Clinical Nursing Practice is awarded by St Vincent’s Hospital. The successful completion of the four courses will result in a Graduate Certificate of Palliative Care Nursing awarded by UNDA.

Student Selection Criteria

The selection of SVHS students is based on academic and employment suitability, following online application and successful interview at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

Essential criteria

  • To be eligible for enrolment in this course, Registered Nurses must:
  • have an undergraduate degree in nursing or equivalent qualification
  • be currently registered as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) with the Australian Health Professionals Regulation Agency
  • Current employment at SVHS
  • have a minimum of 12 months nursing experience at the course commencement date.

Applicants are NOT required to be working in a specialised palliative care unit to undertake this study.

Cost

The two courses delivered by SVHS are fee-free for St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney staff. These two courses attract fees for staff external to SVHS at the rate of commonwealth supported places for eligible students. The application process for this will be through enrolment in UNDA for the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care Nursing. Fees do apply for two university offered courses at the rate of commonwealth supported places for eligible students. Students may also be eligible for FEE-HELP, a student loan initiative from the Australian Government www.studyassist.gov.au/help-loans/fee-help 

Scholarships

To financially assist students, St Vincent’s Hospital Division of Nursing offers a defined number of scholarships in an endeavour to support nurses to undertake tertiary based postgraduate study that relate to clinical specialties at St Vincent’s Hospital. For further information, please contact the Nurse Manager of Professional Clinical Practice Tel: 02 8382 2322.

Scholarships are also available through various other organisations, such as the NSW Ministry of Health and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association.

Applications

We offer two pathways leading to a Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care Nursing, each with different timelines to suit varying needs and schedules:

18-Month Pathway

  • Start Date: Semester 2 of 2024 (Classes commence on 22nd July 2024).
  • Duration: 18 months.
  • Description: This pathway allows for a more extended study period, giving students additional time to complete their coursework, making it ideal for those who need a more flexible schedule.

12-Month Pathway

  • Application Deadline: Monday, 25th November 2024, at midnight.
  • Start Date: Beginning of 2025.
  • Duration: 12 months.
  • Description: This pathway is designed for students who wish to complete their certification more quickly, providing a more intensive and focused learning experience.

Applicants are required to complete an online application form via https://form.jotform.com/241828286353867

Applications for enrolment in the Graduate Certificate Palliative Care Nursing courses offered by UNDA close in early February (semester 1 commencement) and July (semester 2) each year.

For further enquires please contact:
Sherin Easo| Nurse Educator
T 02 8382 2484 | M 0402732700 E Sherin.Easo@svha.org.au