The Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) has appreciated the effort of Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) and Kenya Medical Training Council (KMTC) in ensuring that the palliative care program commences this year.

Established under an Act of parliament Cap 257 of the laws of Kenya, NCK is a body corporate mandated to regulate training and practice of nurses in the country.

Head of Education Department M/s. Jostine Mutinda says that nursing is an art and science of helping sick or well to achieve optimum level of health or to a peaceful death where death is inevitable.

M/s. Mutinda says that with the palliative care nurse training, graduates of the program will demonstrate excellence in the field of palliative care.

The council envisages that the success of the training program will go a long way to aid in the capacity building of the palliative care team.

“Deployment of competent nurses in our hospices and palliative care units will help improve the overall patient care in these areas.” M/s. Mutinda says.

According to the Head of Department, the program provides the nurses with knowledge and skills to effectively provide end of life care to clients/patients in a competent, safe and professional manner.

She adds that after general qualification, the nurses will undertake a post basic course in palliative care nursing to consolidate the specialist skills required in end of life care.

“Apart from broadening the scope of professional nursing practice, this training enhances palliative nursing care and its outcome to hard-to-reach communities where nurses are deployed.” She says.

With sponsorship from KEHPCA, M/s. Mutinda says that the Nursing Council in partnership with the players has moved to develop the syllabus and other training materials to facilitate the commencement of the program.

She says that palliative care nurses are both hospital and community based and will work in their respective environment and in hospices to provide holistic care to patients with terminal illnesses and their relatives.

“They may also be involved with certain procedures in wards, clinics or in other specialist areas such as cardiac catheterization units. They work with patients of all ages from new born babies to elderly patients.” M/s. Mutinda says.

It is my hope, M/s. Mutinda says, that nurses will develop interest in this area and come out in large numbers to train in the course in order to help us achieve the objective of palliative care ‘ensuring improved quality of life for patients’ in Kenya.