Nurse Practitioners in Palliative Care Practice

Topic: Nursing
Words: 906 Pages: 3

Purpose of the Study

In their article, Collins and Small (2019) address the role of nurse practitioners in palliative care practice. In general, palliative care (PC) is highly beneficial for patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases. It aims to improve life quality by addressing the physiological manifestations of severe healthcare conditions, provide the highest level of comfort “when death is imminent,” and promote patients’ emotional, social, and spiritual well-being (Collins & Small, 2019, p. 4). However, in the present day, the accessibility of PC is substantially limited due to several factors, including a lack of specialists, inadequate education, remote patient location, and insufficient financial resources. At the same time, due to their autonomy and the level of competency in patient-centered holistic care, advanced practice nurses may serve as PC specialists filling the gap in these services (Collins & Small, 2019). Thus, the purpose of the study is to answer the question: what role do nurse practitioners (NPs) who are not PC specialists and not working in palliative specialty settings play in the provision of PC? (Collins & Small, 2019).

Design, Sampling Techniques, and Data Collection

Qualitative description methods that presuppose narrative data collection are used for this study, approved by a research ethics board. This strategy is guided by study needs as it allows to description of the research topic to the fullest extent from the study participants’ perspective (Collins & Small, 2019). Participants are 19 NPs, one man and eighteen women, from a province in eastern Canada, at the aged of 32-62 years old, recruited through snowball sampling and email with information about the study (Collins & Small, 2019). All participants are not PC specialists and are not focused on PC. They are divided into two groups in accordance with facing PC patients in their practice.

The data are collected by a PC specialist who has recorded her reflections in advance to avoid forcing interpretation and prejudging. Subsequently, she conducts one comprehensive

semi-structured interview with every NP in private using open-ended questions concerning participants’ insights, experiences, and perspectives in relation to PC (Collins & Small, 2019). Interviews are digitally recorded and transcribed for qualitative analysis. In general, the process of data collection is described clearly and it is fully justified by the purpose of the study and chosen methods.

Data Analysis

Data are analyzed by the two investigators through the application of the qualitative content analysis procedures after every interview to evaluate whether it was complete or required additional questions. Working in collaboration with each other, investigators code and categorize data on the basis of categories synthesized in the process of interviewing to form a set of themes (Collins & Small, 2019). Similar to data collection, the process of data analysis is described comprehensively as well.

Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

The study’s theoretical framework is reported, and it may be regarded as appropriate for the study’s purpose and design as it addresses the significance of palliative care, the role of NPs, and how they may contribute to the provision of PC services. The literature review is accomplished before data collection as it evaluates the amount of information concerning the role of NPs within palliative settings. In addition, the authors state that NP practice in palliative settings is not properly investigated, and this fact justifies the study’s expediency. Contributing to PC, NPs have several role functions that include providing psychosocial support and ongoing care, managing medical conditions, advocating for patients, educating them and their families, and consulting with other healthcare providers if necessary (Collins & Small, 2019). In addition, several studies have confirmed the positive impact of NPs on patients’ outcomes within the PC framework.

Study’s Trustworthiness

The study may be regarded as credible as its trustworthiness is established in several ways. First of all, the authors clearly distinguish the topic of their research and logically explain its viability. In addition, they organize a literature review to demonstrate a lack of information related to their topic and ensure its expediency again. The authors describe the participants, sampling techniques, data collection, and data analysis in detail. Moreover, in order to guarantee the completeness of data, analysis is conducted after every interview to correct questions in the following ones if necessary. Finally, the results of the research are thoroughly described as well, taking into consideration its limitations and perspectives for the future.


The study’s findings totally correspond with its central theme – the role of an NP is described as ideally suited for PC practice. Participants proved these results either by their experience if they had PC patients in their practice or by their perception of a NP’s nature and mission. They believe that the presence of NPs with patients is highly essential in PC practice, and the level of their autonomy may contribute to patient’s well-being (Collins & Small, 2019). At the same time, several impediments that detract NPs’ ideal suitability for PC practice are detected. They include a lack of emotional comfort in facing life-threatening conditions and a lack of knowledge related to PC.

Importance of the Study

From a personal perspective, this study is highly essential for NPs and the public health care system in general. It examines the potential of advanced practice nurses to work in PC practice, especially when this field experiences a shortage of specialists and financing. In addition, the results of this research may be applied not only in Canada but in other countries across the world as well.


Collins, C. M., & Small, S. P. (2019). The nurse practitioner role is ideally suited for palliative care practice: A qualitative descriptive study. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 29(1), 4-9.

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