advanced practice registered nurses, hospice, nursing education, nursing workforce, palliative care



  1. Pawlow, Patricia MSN, ACNP- BC
  2. Dahlin, Constance MSN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN
  3. Doherty, Caroline L. MSN, AGACNP-BC, AACC
  4. Ersek, Mary PhD, RN, FPCN


One barrier to continued growth of palliative care is the shortage of qualified hospice and palliative care clinicians. Advanced practice registered nurses are an important part of the interdisciplinary palliative care team, and strengthening this workforce can help alleviate the shortage of clinicians and improve access to quality palliative care. However, there is a dearth of information about this workforce. The purpose of this study was to describe the current hospice and palliative care advanced practice registered nurse workforce, their educational needs, and barriers to practice. The investigators distributed an online survey between October 2016 and January 2017 and received 556 responses. Sixty-three percent had more than 20 years of experience as a registered nurse yet were newer to practice as a hospice and palliative care advanced practice nurse, with 53.8% having 0 to 5 years of experience in this role. Forty-one percent indicated that their traditional graduate educational preparation was insufficient in preparing them for their specialty role. Most indicated that they did not experience barriers to practice in their current position, but 7.3% identified significant issues. These results can inform future professional, educational, and regulatory efforts to support and develop the palliative care advanced practice registered nurse workforce.