Hospice and Palliative Nursing Role Delineation Study: Implications for Certification

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To validate contents of the National Board for Certification of Hospice Nurses examination and determine the appropriateness of extending the credential to palliative care nurses.


A list of 190 nursing activity statements was mailed to 2,000 nurses; items were rated according to frequency and significance to practice. Data analysis was based on N = 406 (20%) responded.


Activities ranking highest for frequency related to maintaining patient function and quality of life, comprehensive pain management, and relief of other symptoms. Occurring activities related to pediatric care and procedures associated with high-tech care.


Minimal differences exist between hospice and palliative care nursing practice. A single certification examination is possible. The credential will be renamed Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) beginning in 1999. The certifying body is now the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN).


Examinees, consumers, and employers can have confidence that the certification examination for hospice and palliative nurses reflects practice for this combined specialty and is valid to its purpose.

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