Background and Context:
Palliative care services in Israel started in 1983 with the opening of the first hospice by The Israel Cancer Association. Since then nurses in hospitals and community clinics provide palliative care, mainly to cancer patients.
The events that initiated the current advancement were: The enactment of the Dying Patient Law in 2005, the policy statement published in 2009 by the Ministry of Health for the implementation of palliative care in the health system and the recognition of palliative care as a specialty for nurses.
The next step was to identify a group of nurses with many years of experience in palliative care, who were currently working in the field the nurses had an academic degree and had graduated from a post-graduate educational program in Oncology or Geriatric Nursing. These nurses were acknowledged as "Parents of the Profession". The role of this group was to teach and mentor the next generation.
In 2011 we took the initiative to open a program (225 hours) in the Tel Aviv University Nursing Faculty in the continuing nursing education department. The students seeking recognition as specialists in palliative care were required to attend a research seminar (75 hours) and complete clinical experience in fields they were not familiar with before.
The 11 students who followed this course passed the official exam in 2012.
What was learned:
We believe that this program will gain recognition by the academic community and thus provide valuable professionals to the developing force of palliative care nurses.