1. Sidwell, Jane MSW, RN, CHPN

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In 2004, recognizing the need to speak with a unified voice, the HPNA, NBCHPN, and HPNF formed The Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing. The Alliance mission, "to serve as the unified voice in hospice and palliative nursing, to integrate and coordinate end-of-life care with other members of the interdisciplinary team, to act as a visionary for specialty trending nursing issues, to be a primary resource fostering excellence in hospice and palliative nursing, and to advance end-of-life care for the benefit of the public at large," was crafted to ensure that all persons become aware of the crucial impact of hospice and palliative nursing care.


On March 29, 2008, the seven-member board of trustees for The Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing invited seven "thought leaders" to join them in a daylong summit in Pittsburgh, PA, to discuss "future needs in palliative care nursing." These leaders, along with a consultant in healthcare strategies, represented the areas of research, palliative care medicine, geriatrics, oncology, home health nursing, pediatric nursing, emergency, long-term, and critical care nursing. Participants' discussions were inclusive of hospice care, as defined by the National Consensus Project's (NCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, which defines nursing care across the palliative care continuum, from the point of diagnosis of a life-limiting illness through death and bereavement.


Four specific areas of question guided the participants' discussions: (1) priorities of The Alliance, (2) partnership with others for mutual benefit, (3) alliance support of its partners, and (4) new initiatives for exploration.


Participants then selected the following key issues for The Alliance to address: (1) attention to priorities and new initiatives; (2) effective work with and support of partners to ensure mutual benefit; (3) the need to conduct a portfolio analysis of NIH research and review various models of care, including collaboration challenges; and (4) the role and scope of palliative care in a "new" healthcare system. Also viewed as key issue was the need for palliative nursing care to be integrated in and across all specialties with involvement of psychiatric and mental health colleagues.


From these key issues, participants identified the need for preparation of a white paper that will contain the following imperatives for action:


* Palliative education and value in all specialties must be strategically integrated internally and externally through review of textbook and journal content.


* Certification must be promoted along with inclusion of palliative care in all educational programs.


* Joint position statements and special interest groups for nurses in other specialty areas must be given priority.


* The advanced practice nurse's roles and responsibilities must be clarified with consistent use of palliative care language and incorporation of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care used across all settings.


* Research agenda should be coordinated and shared among the various groups: NIH, NINR, ONS, ASCO, AAHPM, HPNA, NHPCO, NBCHPN, ABNS, and others.


* Models of success should be developed, identified, and disseminated using evidence-based practice, NCP guidelines, and NQF-preferred practices.


* Care coordination between settings must be seamless and transparent.



For more information regarding The Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing and the Thought Leader's Summit, please refer to the "About Us" tab on The Alliance Web site,


Jane Sidwell, MSW, RN, CHPN


President, Board of Directors


Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association