University of Oulu

Melender, H.-L., Hökkä, M., Kaakinen, P., Lehto, J. T., & Hirvonen, O. (2022). Palliative-care nurses’ and physicians’ descriptions of the competencies needed in their working units. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 28(1), 38–50.

Palliative-care nurses’ and physicians’ descriptions of the competencies needed in their working units

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Author: Melender, Hanna-Leena1; Hökkä, Minna2; Kaakinen, Pirjo3;
Organizations: 1Department of Social and Health Care, VAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland
2School of Health, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kajaani, Finland
3Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Finland
4Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, and Palliative Care Centre and Department of Oncology, Tampere University Hospital, Finland
5Palliative Center, Turku University Hospital, and Department of Clinical Oncology, University of Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Mark Allen Group, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-02-23


Background: Specialists were asked to describe the most essential palliative and end-of-life care competencies needed in their working units, in order to deepen the understanding of the phenomenon.

Aim: To describe the most essential competencies of palliative-care nurses and physicians.

Methods: The data was collected using an open-ended question in a survey sent to registered nurses (n=129) working within palliative care and to physicians (n=64) with a special competency in palliative care. The data was analysed using content analysis.

Results: The description of the most essential competencies included 16 main categories and 63 subcategories in total. The three strongest main categories were ‘clinical competence’, ‘competence in social interactions’ and ‘competence in giving support’. Eleven main categories were based on both nurses’ and physicians’ data, while five main categories were created from nurses’ data only.

Conclusions: Interprofessional palliative-care education is recommended for the undergraduate and postgraduate education of nurses and physicians.

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Series: International journal of palliative nursing
ISSN: 1357-6321
ISSN-E: 2052-286X
ISSN-L: 1357-6321
Volume: 28
Issue: 1
Pages: 38 - 50
DOI: 10.12968/ijpn.2022.28.1.38
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in International Journal of Palliative Nursing, copyright © MA Healthcare, after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see