Palliative Care Nursing: Quality Care to the End of Life

Article excerpt

Palliative Care Nursing: Quality Care to the End of Life

edited by Marianne LaPorte Matzo, PhD, RN, GNP, CS, and Deborah Witt Sherman, PhD, RN, ANP, CS; New York: Springer Publishing, 2001; 545 pages, $59.95

As my goddaughter, who is not a nurse, said to me recently, "Palliative care is so important for people with cancer as well as many other serious illnesses. Bill Moyer made it clear in his PBS special. `Dying in America.' that we need to give greater attention to the needs of the seriously ill." Naturally, I, her oncology nurse/educator godmother, beamed with pride that she had such insight into this important aspect of health care.

When I opened this text, I was immediately captivated by how the editors used as its organizing framework the essential nursing competencies proposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in the 1998 document "Peaceful Death." I agree with Betty Rolling Ferrell, who states in her foreword that "this text.. will be recognized as a foundation for nursing education."

Nurses who provide palliative care must have both compassion and competence. The authors represented in this book demonstrate their knowledge and appreciation of this philosophical perspective. Each topic is addressed with sensitivity, a holistic perspective, and a wealth of evidence-based practice. As an educator, I particularly valued the education plan provided at the end of each chapter. These plans include the knowledge, attitudes, and skills required for attaining competence as well as undergraduate and graduate behavioral outcomes and teaching-learning strategies. What more could a faculty member, staff development educator, or deliverer of continuing education ask for?

Themes reflected throughout the text include the emphasis on patient and family education and support, the value of the interdisciplinary team, the importance of communication, and the need to provide palliative care within the context of quality of life. …