What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is an interprofessional specialty focused on symptom management, quality of life, and relief of distress for patients and their families. The focus of palliative care is on improving the quality of life for patients living with serious illness and their families. Research in multiple settings—including hospitals, intensive care units, clinics, nursing facilities, and home care—has demonstrated that palliative care improves management of pain and other symptoms, helps patients and families cope with serious illness, and ensures that treatment plans align with patient and family goals.
Why is Palliative Care Education Needed?
Palliative care is being adopted rapidly in both inpatient and outpatient settings. As a result, employers are increasingly expressing the need for trained palliative care professionals. UCSF and the UCSF School of Nursing are dedicated to developing and implementing educational programs to expand the palliative care workforce.
What Programs are Available?
Palliative Care Minor: This program is for nurses in the advanced practice degree programs in the UCSF School of Nursing who want to develop a high level of expertise in palliative care. The minor includes 3 courses--an overview, advanced communication, and elective course--as well as enrichment activities and faculty mentoring. It is designed for nurses who care for seriously ill patients, either within a palliative care program or within another specialty or area, e.g. oncology, cardiology, primary care, etc. Learn more
Interprofessional Continuing Education in Palliative Care: We developed this program to prepare working health professionals who care for seriously ill patients to gain the skills needed to provide high quality palliative care for their patients, and to serve as champions for palliative care in their workplace. Participants have also used this program to re-focus their career on palliative care. Currently this program is 10 months long and meets once a month on Fridays. Continuing education credits are provided. This program is open to nurses, physicians, chaplains, social workers, nursing assistants, case managers, therapists, pharmacists and other practicing clinicians. We will begin accepting applications in February 2018 for the 2018 - 2019 cohort. Learn more
Palliative Care Education - Leadership
Nurse Lead and Program Co-Director
DorAnne Donesky, PhD, ANP-BC, ACHPN
Associate Adjunct Professor
UCSF School of Nursing
Dr. Donesky's areas of expertise include quality of life for patients with advanced pulmonary disease and communication skills training. She is the Nurse Practitioner at the Mount Zion Pulmomary Quality of Life Clinic, a Cambia Sojourn Scholar, and a Macy Faculty Scholar.
Physician Lead and Program Co-Director
Wendy Anderson, MD, MS
UCSF School of Medicine
Dr. Anderson leads a program of research, education, and quality improvement with the goal of improving care for seriously ill hospitalized patients. Her projects focus on palliative care in the hospital and ICU focused on interprofessional communication.
Social Work Lead
Bridget Sumser, LMSW
Clinical Social Worker
UCSF Adult Palliative Care Service
Bridget Sumser is a Clinical Social Worker for UCSF Adult Palliative Care Service. She completed Palliative Care Fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Her practice is rooted in a deep commitment to social justice issues in healthcare and focuses on whole person, family care.
Spiritual Care Lead
The Rev. Denah Joseph, BCC
Chaplain and Associate Director
UCSF Palliative Care Service
The Rev. Denah Joseph is an ordained Buddhist minister and serves as the palliative care chaplain at the Parnassus Heights campus, working with patients and families with advanced illness and end-of-life concerns. She has worked as a psychotherapist for many years.
Palliative Care Education - Advisory Council Members
Patricia M. Davidson, RN, MEd, PhD, FAAN
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN
Director—Nursing Research & Education
Professor—City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, California
Patricia O'Sullivan, EdD
Professor—UCSF School of Medicine
Director—Medical Education, Center for Faculty Educators
Steven Pantilat, MD
Director–UCSF Palliative Care Program
Leader–Continuity of Care for the Seriously Ill Strategic Planning Process for UCSF Health
Kathleen Puntillo, RN, PhD, FAAN
Professor Emeritus–UCSF School of Nursing
National Expert in palliative care
Michael Rabow, MD
Specialist—Hospice and Palliative Care
Internist—UCSF General Internal Medicine Clinic at Mount Zion
Christine Ritchie, MD, MSPH
President–American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Medical Director of Clinical Programs–UCSF Office of Population Health
Palliative Care Education - Resources
- Health Systems, Educators Improvise to Bring Palliative Care to Patients
- Interprofessional Palliative Care Training Awarded Campus Strategic Initiative Funds
- Barbara Koenig Named Head of New Bioethics Program
- Looking For a Better Way to Die
- As Palliative Care's Importance Grows, UCSF Nursing Expands Training
- Pantilat Receives Award for Work in Palliative Care
- UC Medical Centers Will Expand Palliative Care With $1M Grant
- UCSF, Hospice By The Bay Collaborating To Enhance End-of-Life Care in the Bay Area
- In Palliative Care, Comfort Is the Top Priority
- Palliative Care Movement Reaches Significant Milestone in U.S.
- Leading the Charge for More and Better Palliative Care
- Advanced Illness Researcher Dr. Christine Ritchie Highlights Palliative Care Integration into Education
- End of Life Option Act Task Force
- Palliative Care Services, UCSF Medical Center
- Palliative Care Service, UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine
- UCSF Bioethics (forthcoming)