Nursing education on palliative care across Europe: Results and recommendations from the EAPC Taskforce on preparation for practice in palliative care nursing across the EU based on an online-survey and country reports

Sandra Martins Pereira, Pablo Hernández-Marrero, H. Roeline Pasman, Manuel Luís Capelas, Philip Larkin, Anneke L. Francke

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Background: Nurses are the largest regulated group of healthcare professionals involved in palliative care. In 2004, a taskforce of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) launched the ‘Guide for development of palliative nurse education in Europe’ (hereinafter, the EAPC 2004 Guide). No systematic evaluation of its impact in the development of palliative care education was undertaken. Aims: To describe current undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education across Europe; to identify the roles that nurses with different palliative care educational levels have in palliative care; and to assess the uptake of the EAPC 2004 Guide in the development of palliative care nursing in Europe. Design: Descriptive research involving an online survey among nursing experts, and the consultation of national representatives. Setting/participants: A total of 135 nurses (52% response rate) from 25 countries completed the online survey; representatives from 16 countries were consulted. Results: In 14 (56%) countries, palliative care was not identified as a mandatory subject within undergraduate nursing education. The EAPC 2004 Guide is widely known and was/is being used in many countries to promote palliative care nursing education. Large variations were found across and within country responses. Conclusions: Palliative care nursing education varies largely in Europe. The wide awareness and use of the EAPC 2004 Guide show how policy measures can influence the development of palliative care education. Recommendations are built and focus on both fostering the use of this guide and implementing policy measures to ensure that palliative care nursing is recognised and certified as a specialty in all European countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-141
Number of pages12
JournalPalliative medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Palliative care
  • competencies
  • curriculum
  • end of life care
  • guidelines
  • hospice and palliative care nursing
  • nursing education
  • online survey
  • professional competence
  • professional education

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