1. Ferrell, Betty PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN

Article Content

The scope of palliative care nursing is almost overwhelming in its breadth and depth. Patients and families facing serious or terminal illness experience a broad range of concerns ranging from the practical issues of care and the management of physical symptoms to wrestling with existential and spiritual concerns. The depth of these concerns is similarly overwhelming as we recognize that pain is rarely an issue of nociception but rather a phenomenon encompassing physical and spiritual dimensions. Providing care to a dying spouse is more than an exhaustive list of medications and treatments; rather, it is a transformative experience testing what it means to be a spouse, to witness the decline of someone you love, and to imagine life alone. The articles published in this issue of JHPN are testament to the diversity of our field and needs of those we serve.


The specialty of palliative nursing and the formation of Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association are a commitment to address the complexity of this care, both in its breadth and depth. These lofty goals of understanding and ultimately improving palliative care are realized through the efforts of our professional organization, our conferences, textbooks, and our certification.


Attention to the breadth and depth of serious illness and end-of-life care is also advanced through this journal. Through the pages of JHPN, we have the opportunity to have shared knowledge, analyze clinical cases, present findings from research, and tackle the controversies of our field. A nurse in Oklahoma City reads about a study conducted in Des Moines, and nurses at a hospice in Newark read the findings of a study in a Tampa hospice addressing a clinical problem discussed in the weekly interdisciplinary team meeting.


In my professional experiences over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to talk with nurses from across the United States and around the world. I am often struck by the wealth of knowledge and clinical excellence that exist in hospices and palliative care programs. When I have suggested that the nurses should publish their work, they are often shocked at the suggestion that their work could benefit others or advance the field. We have too many well-kept secrets and too few palliative care nurses sharing their wisdom.


What quality improvement project have you done? What challenging patient care problems have you addressed? What system changes has your program accomplished that have improved care? How do you train and support your staff?


As editor of JHPN, I invite you to share these secrets and your wisdom through the journal. We have much to learn from each other, and ultimately, it is our patients and their families who will benefit from our greater understanding of the breath and depth of their needs.


Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN