University of Oulu

Minna Hökkä, Hanna-Leena Melender, Juho T. Lehto, and Pirjo Kaakinen. Palliative nursing competencies required for different levels of palliative care provision : a qualitative analysis of health care professionals' perspectives. Journal of Palliative Medicine 24(10): 1516-1524.

Palliative nursing competencies required for different levels of palliative care provision : a qualitative analysis of health care professionals’ perspectives

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Author: Hökkä, Minna1,2; Melender, Hanna-Leena3; Lehto, Juho T.3;
Organizations: 1Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kajaani, Finland
2University of Oulu Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Oulu, Finland
3VAMK University of Applied Sciences, Vaasa, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Mary Ann Liebert, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-09-20


Background: Nurses must possess adequate competencies to provide high-quality palliative care. Earlier statements have described certain competencies that are relevant for palliative care, yet only limited empirical research has focused on the perspective of health care professionals to clarify which competencies are required for different levels of palliative care provision.

Objective: The aim was to describe the required palliative nursing competencies of registered nurses aligned to different levels of palliative care provision, from the perspectives of multiprofessional groups.

Design: A qualitative study design.

Setting/Subjects: A purposive sample of professionals, working in different levels of palliative care across various settings in Finland, was used to gain information about the aim of the study (n = 222).

Measurements: Content analysis was applied to describe the competencies of registered nurses.

Results: Competencies relevant to basic palliative care were categorized under 17 main categories, which included a total of 75 subcategories. “Competence in managing the most common symptoms” was the main category that contained the largest number of reduced expressions (f = 75). An analysis of specialist palliative care data yielded 10 main categories, including 49 subcategories, with “Competence in maintaining expertise and taking care of own well-being at work” containing the most reduced expressions.

Conclusion: The study provided new knowledge; more specifically, competencies related to encounters and maintaining hope were described as palliative care nursing competences. The results can be used to ensure that palliative nursing education focuses on the competences that are necessary in practice.

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Series: Journal of palliative medicine
ISSN: 1096-6218
ISSN-E: 1557-7740
ISSN-L: 1096-6218
Volume: 24
Issue: 10
Pages: 1516 - 1524
DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0632
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2021, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The final authenticated version is available online at