Masters degrees in Palliative Care Nursing teach postgraduates the skills to support and care for people with terminal or life-limiting conditions. It’s possible to study Palliative Care Nursing as a PGDip or PGCert as well as an MSc.
Related subjects include Oncology and Community Health Studies. Entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree such as Nursing, Medicine, or Social Care.
Palliative Care is a sensitive issue; it’s about people living with a terminal illness where recovery is no longer possible. It aims not only to treat or manage physical symptoms, but also to provide social support.
Training predominantly involves taking part in clinical practice through work placements, and conducting research on issues of palliative care and service development.
Depending on your interests, you may wish to specialise in areas such as Paediatric or Gerontological Palliative Care. Or, you might want to focus on providing care for specific medical issues, for example cancer.
District nursing is typical for palliative care nurses, but your career may also involve working directly on wards or within social housing and nursing homes.
Our Palliative Care course will give you the skills to evaluate evidence to improve care, and to conduct research to inform clinical practice and service development. You can study this as an MSc, PG Diploma or PG Certificate. Whichever you choose, you will have world-class teaching at the cutting edge of the field.
Developed by King's Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine and St Christopher's Hospice the course will give you the skills you need to evaluate research and evidence in issues of palliative care to inform your clinical practice and your service development.
Our primary aim is to improve your ability, competence and confidence to care for patients with advanced disease, and for their families. This requires you to be able to critically evaluate evidence of the effectiveness, appropriateness and acceptability of existing interventions and services, both medical and psychosocial.
This course is multi-disciplinary and multi-professional. You will learn alongside palliative care professionals from across the world and from all disciplines at the Cicely Saunders Institute, the first purpose-built centre for palliative care. We have students from a wide range of disciplines and professions including doctors, chaplains, nurses, social workers and physiotherapists.
You will develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the many clinical, social, psychosocial, and ethical issues which surround palliative care, and how to assess and deal with them.
You will learn from academics who are working at the cutting edge of palliative care, allowing you to develop your knowledge with the latest thinking and research.
We will assess you through a combination of coursework and exams, allowing you to develop different skills and working styles.
If you are an MSc student, you will write 15,000 words for your Research Study Project.
The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the course modules change.
Many of our graduates have gone on to become leaders in their field, to make significant contributions to patient and family care and to influence palliative care policy locally, nationally and internationally. Many have used this course to progress their careers from specialist training registrars in palliative medicine to challenging and exciting consultant posts in hospital, hospice and community settings, and a growing number of clinical nurse specialists are now nurse consultants. Increasing numbers go on to conduct PhDs in palliative care related areas and the course has given to some exciting opportunities to conduct high quality research which has successfully been disseminated at scientific meetings or high quality, peer-reviewed journals.
Our MSc in Advancing Practice (Nursing) is a flexible course that is open to healthcare professionals seeking a qualification that is contemporary and relevant to practice. In order to develop your professional role and transform practice our course will assist you in developing your:
The flexibility of our course and wide range of modules available means that it can be tailored to your own individual development needs. The programme also helps you develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and attitudes necessary to enhance your professional role and transform practice.
In recent years a key focus within the NHS has been patient safety and with reports such as The Francis Enquiry (Francis, 2013) fuelling this issue, practice improvement has become a major theme in clinical practice. This theme is central to the course, which focuses on the development of skills in practice improvement methodology, enabling you to make a significant contribution to improving practice and providing quality care.
Within our course you also have the option to focus on undertaking modules relating to a specific practice area in order to meet your needs and add a named pathway to the MSc Advancing Practice. The specialist pathways available are:
Your core modules for the Nursing pathway will be:
Overall our course will assist you in achieving a qualification that is contemporary, relevant to practice and equips you with the knowledge and skills to transform practice.
Learn a Language (optional)
This course also gives you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.
Teaching & Assessment
Our assessment strategy ensures there are multiple points to access feedback to enable you to learn from this and improve your academic skills as the module and course progresses. Our course is delivered fully online via the University platform Moodle and employs a variety of digital resources to enhance the learning, teaching and assessment experience within the modules, such as:
Gaining a qualification at Master's level supports your career advancement and advanced practitioner roles. You will develop high-level transferable skills which will enhance employability including:
On completion of the course, you will be equipped for further study in a variety of academic pathways. The University of the West of Scotland, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery offers academic and professional courses which include the following examples of further study/progression routes:
The Post-Graduate Diploma Specialist Nursing (with pathways) is aimed at preparing Nurses for Leadership roles in a field of Nursing of their choice. There are a range of Pathways to suit all Nurses including District Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Learning Disability Nursing, and Community Children’s Nursing. The full range of Adult Nursing Specialisms include, Palliative Care, Stroke Care, Diabetes Care and Emergency Care.
The programme leads to more than one qualification. You will obtain a degree from Ulster University and a professional qualification from the United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Students of District Nursing also obtain a further professional qualification in Nurse Prescribing.
The term, ‘Specialist Nursing’ refers to, the exercising of higher levels of judgment and decision-making in relation to the nursing care of individuals, families and communities. As a future Leader you must display this higher level of decision-making across four areas; clinical practice, care and programme management, clinical practice development and clinical practice leadership.
At Ulster we focus on developing you as a Leader and help you achieve academic and professional competence in all these areas. This programme is a 50-50 programme, meaning that 50% of the programme is university-based and 50% based in the practice learning setting. In the Practice Learning setting you will be allocated to a Sign-Off Mentor. This Sign-Off Mentor who is an established Specialist Nurse and Leader in Clinical Care will supervise you throughout the Programme. He/she will assess you and sign off your competencies prior to recording the professional qualification with the NMC. You will also be allocated to a Pathway Leader who will supervise your academic development and provide support throughout.
The academic component of the programme consists of a four 30-credit modules.
District Nursing students have an additional 20 credits to complete in order to evidence outcomes related to Nurse Prescribing.
Full-time students are expected to attend the University for at least 2 days per week, with the remaining time allocated to Practice Learning. Full-time students are normally time-tabled for Mondays and Fridays.
Part-time students attend the University for 1 day per week during Term-Time. In Semester One this is normally a Monday and in Semester Two a Wednesday. Some Pathways have additional days ( i.e Emergency Care) but you will be informed of this at Induction. Practice Learning is organised on days that suit you and your Sign-off Mentor.
All students are expected to attend all classes associated with the programme and be punctual and regular in attendance. Attendance will be monitored both at the University and in the Practice Learning setting and Employers are informed of all absences.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (child)
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (adult)
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of registration as a qualified nurse (learning disabilities).
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the purpose of recording as Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) (mental health)
All students must complete 75 days Practice Learning in an aproved setting. Students must have direct interaction with patients and families during this period. Supervision by an expert Specialist Nurse (Sign-Off Mentor) will occur during Practice Learning. A Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ) Portfolio is required to evidence achievement of professional outcomes.
Graduates of this programme take up posts as Specialist Nurses. Most are in Team Leadership positions. There is 100% Employability associated with this programme.
Gain an expert understanding of palliative and end of life care and its aims to achieve the best quality of life for patients facing life-threatening illness on this course. You also learn how to give vital treatment for their condition. Your studies focus on a holistic approach to symptom management for the patient and psychological, social and spiritual support for the patient and their family.
This course is ideal for experienced practitioners providing day-to-day care to patients in their homes, hospitals, hospices and nursing homes.
We have designed this course to make it easy to fit around your work and suit your professional needs. You can tailor your studies to your needs and area of practice, through a mix of core and optional modules. And you complete your studies via distance learning through our online learning environment allowing you to learn in the way most suited to your personal circumstances.
The course was developed by a multiprofessional team for a multiprofessional workforce. The learning, teaching and assessment strategies reflect the interprofessional working in supportive and palliative care helping develop more effective teamwork. Various professionals contribute to the teaching.
An academic supervisor will support your dissertation, on a topic which we work with you to devise. Dissertations can benefit you and your employer through implementation of your research findings. Study at this level also develops autonomous practice in professionals, improving their leadership skills and ability to implement service developments.
PgCert End of Life Care
If you don't want to complete the full MSc, you can stop your studies at the end of year one and receive the PgCert End of Life Care. You can rejoin and complete the MSc at a later date if you wish.
Recognition of previous certificated learning
We encourage the awarding of academic credit for previous certificated study that you may have completed in this area. This means you could be exempt from some modules, gaining your award in a shorter time.
Study individual modules
You can study individual modules from this course and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for more information.
The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.
The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.
Postgraduate certificate core modules
Postgraduate diploma core modules
Postgraduate diploma optional modules
30 credits from either Sheffield Hallam University or elsewhere, as long as they are relevant to the course. Examples include:
Our full range of module options is available on our continuing professional development website.
We support and develop your potential to progress your career, either in your current organisation or with a new employer. With our advice, you can pursue areas of specialist interest and take modules relevant to your future career.
Graduates from this course gain the skills and knowledge to work in senior nursing and other specialist supportive and palliative care roles, including
Children's nurses provide care for children and young people from birth to 18 years of age across settings, for example hospital, home and hospice. The role of the children's nurse includes promoting health and minimising illness in collaboration with families. When providing nursing care for children, working with the family and consideration of their needs is essential. Moreover, children's nurses work collaboratively with a range of professionals to meet the specific needs of children, young people and their families wherever they are cared for.
The first year is divided into two parts. In part one you will undertake a bridging module introducing you to the foundations of nursing and healthcare. In part two you will look at the context of nursing within a variety of client groups within your specific field of nursing. General nursing topics are studied alongside subjects tailored to adult nursing.
Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.
Year 1 modules (part one and two)
-Introduction to Nursing for Graduates
-Nursing Practice Part 1
-Nursing the Acutely Ill Child
-Contemporary Issues in Children’s Nursing
-Nursing Practice Part 2
Year 2 modules (part three)
-Complexities of Children's Nursing
-Transition to Professional Practice in Children’s Nursing
-Developing and Analysing Evidence-Based Practice
-Nursing Practice Part 3
Modules may not contain all of these themes but they will be represented across the whole two-year programme:
-Quality of life
-Working with diversity and anti-discriminatory practice
-Safeguarding and risk
-Managing and maintaining relationships
-Self-awareness and reflection
-Working with diversity and anti-discriminatory practice
-Nursing skills (essential skills clusters)
-Self-awareness and reflection
-Ethics and law
-Managing and maintaining relationships
-Research and evidence-based practice
-Creativity and problem-solving skills
We have recently developed our innovative Masters in Person-Centred Practice (PcP) Framework with a suite of course routes which place the values of person-centredness at their core. These routes offer practitioners the opportunity to build upon their experience and develop an understanding of the knowledge and evidence that positively contributes to the health and wellbeing of persons, groups and populations. You can opt to study the route which best meets your professional background and future aspirations.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Registered Nurses already working in, or wishing to work in, the community can undertake a specified group of modules that allows them to achieve a community qualification or registration recognised by the NMC in District Nursing, Health Visiting or School Nursing.
There are three core modules that enable you to obtain a PgCert. You will then study modules appropriate to your desired route.
The routes in the Person-Centred Practice Framework seek to influence and enable the transformative processes of personal and professional development through engagement, facilitation and evaluation of person-centred teaching and learning approaches. It is designed to meet the professional needs of practitioners from all disciplines working in a variety of different health and social care settings.
The Framework is innovative and interactive, emphasising application of theory to your practice context. It will enable you to critically engage with, evaluate and synthesise the evidence and research to promote the development and enhancement of person centred culture and practice. This develops a pro-active, transformative and reflective approach to meeting the public health and social needs of individuals, families, groups and populations.
You can personalise your learning to your own situation eg mental health, social care, infection control, acute care and community health. International students are particularly welcome as they offer a varied and different perspective to the context in which the learning occurs.
Our teaching, learning and assessment strategy is framed by our core philosophical concepts of personhood, person-centredness, human valuing, healthful relations, human potential and development, supportive and enabling environments. Central to this strategy is the need for learners to engage in the learning experiences, a readiness to listen and explore, preparedness to be open to
experiences and a resolve to keep going. This environment will generate an ethos of engagement and criticality where students can explore and challenge theories, practices and different sources of knowledge creatively in an atmosphere of high challenge and high support. We will achieve this learning environment through a focus on three pillars of learning activity namely:
- Student-centred experiential and collaborative learning;
- Reflexivity and critical discourse;
- Sustainable and ethical evidence-based teaching.
Students will be supported to challenge their thinking, values and beliefs; through the posing of complex activities and questions, and develop resilient and sustainable approaches to their learning and practice in response to these. Critical to this process is the use of diverse knowledge, scholarly inquiry processes and evidence informed materials to engage and enliven the processes of learning.
Assessment strategies will encourage application to practice. In line with the framework’s philosophy, a wide range of sustainable strategies are used to ensure assessment diversity. This will be achieved through the use of varied strategies which draw on the student’s own areas of practice such as portfolio development, practice proposals, annotated bibliographies, simulation events, games, seminar presentations and self-determined contextual assignment topics. Tutor, peer and self-assessment, including within virtual environments (eg [email protected], Values Exchange), will be an important component of approaches to formative and summative assessment.
For students undertaking NMC recognised specialist qualification and registration (District Nursing, Health Visiting, School Nursing), the course is 50% practice-based and requires placement in an approved practice with a Practice Teacher or Sign-off Mentor or Health Visitor Mentor. Placement will be negotiated with your supporting NHS area.
Your attendance requirements at QMU will depend on which module you are studying and whether you are studying full or part-time.
The routes allow you to gain the higher level knowledge and skills required for advanced practice. It does not gain accreditation with the NMC unless students are undertaking the Specialist Practitioner Qualification in District Nursing or registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN)
To achieve a PgCert, you will complete:
Supporting the Patient and Family in Palliative Care (15 credits) and Developing Advanced Communication Skills in Palliative Care (15 credits)
For those in a clinical role: Working with People with Complex Pain and Symptoms (15 credits)/ Shadows and Horizons: Advancing Palliative Care Practice (15 credits) OR one 15 credit module from the MSc PCP Framework.
For those in a non-clinical role: Shadows and Horizons: Advancing Palliative Care Practice (15 credits) is a core module AND one further 15 credit module from the MSc PCP Framework.
To achieve a PgDip, you will also complete:
Theory and Practice of Person-centred Health and Social Care (30 credits)/ Leading Professional Practice (15 credits)/ Making Judgements and Decisions in Practice (15 credits)
To achieve a MSc, you will also complete: Dissertation (60 credits)
International: Where your degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 6.5 and no individual component score below 6.0.
Criminal records check: For students undertaking NMC approved qualifications a satisfactory criminal records check will be required. Compliance with the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) and mental health legislation for clinical placement and employability in statutory services, for work with children and in other sensitive areas of employment..
You will develop a co-ordinated and holistic approach to your practice as a district nurse, helping you to meet the healthcare needs of the wider community and maximise life chances. As a specialist practitioner, you will have the confidence to make high-level clinical decisions in the provision and management of quality care.
By analysing clinical practice and development, care and programme management and leadership, you will gain a thorough grounding in the effective delivery of complex health and social care services. Providing an equal balance of theory and practical experience, you will undertake a number of relevant work placements. These placements will help you to apply your knowledge and skills effectively and build your career networks.
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Research Excellence Framework 2014: 20% of our research in the Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care unit is world leading or internationally excellent.
We have a long history of providing postgraduate courses in health and social care. The knowledge, skills and attitude that you will gain will offer you the opportunity to consider district nursing practice in significant depth, whilst also increasing your personal development and academic proficiency. You'll learn skills that you will go on to use in your working environment, such as critique, analysis, reasoning, communication, team working, time management and prioritisation.
Once you've successfully completed the Leadership, Management and Enterprise module, you'll also have the opportunity apply to the Chartered Management Institute to receive their level 7 Certificate in Management and Leadership, adding another professional hallmark to your portfolio.
Upon graduation you will be able to record your qualification with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Specialist Practitioner, District Nurse. This qualifies you to work specialist roles within District Nursing including Community Matron, Specialist Palliative Care Nurse or a range of other related roles.