Learning, development and support needs of community palliative care clinical nurse specialists.

Evelyn Whittaker, George Kernohan, Dorry McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The palliative care clinical nurse specialist (PC-CNS) is a core member of the specialist palliative care team. According to professional policy, the role has four specific components: clinical practice, education, research, and leadership and management. Little is known about how to support staff in this role. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore what learning, development, and support PC-CNSs in one hospice need to enable them to fulfil all components of their role. Design: Using a descriptive exploratory approach, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a purposive sample of community PC-CNSs from a hospice in Northern Ireland. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed. Findings: Seventeen interviews were analysed and three themes identified: influence of organisational culture, influence of the individual, and learning and development solutions. Conclusions: Participants reported that the PC-CNS role was stressful. They identified that the organisational culture and indeed individuals themselves influenced the learning and development support available to help them fulfil the four components of the role. Working relationships and stability within teams affected how supported individuals felt and had implications for managers in meeting the needs of staff while balancing the needs of the service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-433
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Sept 2014


  • Palliative care clinical nurse specialist
  • Learning and
  • development
  • Role
  • Hospice care


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