nurse-patient relationship, palliative nursing



  1. Lynch, Maureen APRN, BC, AOCN, ACHPN, FPCN
  2. Dahlin, Constance ANP, BC, AHCPN, FPCN
  3. Hultman, Todd PhD, APRN, BC, ACHPN
  4. Coakley, Edward E. MSN, MA, Med


Nursing and palliative care share common roots, goals, and values. To advance palliative nursing practice, it is essential to discern the unique contribution of palliative nursing to the field of palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to prevent and relieve suffering and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the stage of the disease or the need for other therapies. The alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human responses to health issues is an essential function of nursing as defined by the American Nurses Association. For nurses, human response is a complex phenomenon that encompasses the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of being. Through the art of being present and the science of evidence-based interventions, palliative nurses assess, diagnose, and intervene to support or modify these responses in patients with acute or chronic, potentially life-limiting illnesses and their families to achieve positive patient outcomes that maximize quality of life and alleviate suffering. As the palliative nurse comes to know the patient and family in the nurse-patient relationship, the values, beliefs, past experiences, and goals of all parties emerge and shape future care from symptom management, to advanced directives, treatment choices, and care at the time of death.