Certificate in Palliative Care for Nurse Practitioners Core Competencies for NP Practice

The certificate is for Nurse Practitioners, (and/or Nurse Practitioner Program students), and those in Advanced Practice and/or CNS roles who, as part of their routine practice, may be responsible for the care of adult clients with progressive and life-limiting illnesses. The practice setting may include acute care, long-term care, community, primary care or private practice. Palliative care is defined as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psycho-social and spiritual (World Health Organization 2018)”. Consistent with a palliative approach to care, the certificate aims to enhance the early identification, communication, assessment, clinical reasoning and ethical decision-making skills required to skillfully and accurately mange clients and their families throughout their illness trajectory. Along with the core knowledge and skills in palliative and end of life care, participants will have opportunity for self-reflection to enable authentic therapeutic relations and to effectively assist clients during highly complex and emotional life transitions.


Course participants must hold current registration as a Nurse Practitioner in their province (or as a Registered Nurse enrolled in a Nurse Practitioner program; or working in an Advanced Practice Role).

Certificate Criteria

Participants must successfully complete all 3 courses, normally over a 2-year period, to earn the Certificate in Palliative Care for Nurse Practitioners: Core Competencies for NP Practice. The passing grade of 70% is set for each course. Courses offered by the Centre for Professional Development cannot be credited towards a degree program.

  • Participants may take individual courses without completing the full certificate
  • Courses may be taken in any order

Available Courses

Learners may take the courses in any sequence and will earn a certificate by completing all three courses over a 2-year period.

Palliative Care 1: Approach to Care and Communication Skills

This 6-week online course is the foundational course in the certificate and focuses on the role of the nurse practitioner in applying a palliative approach to care within any practice […]

Palliative Care 2: Complex Symptom Management

This 6-week online course focuses on complex symptom management for clients with progressive disease. Participants will review health assessment including appropriate use of screening and diagnostics tools to gather information […]

Palliative Care 3: End-of-Life Care Management

This 6-week online course focuses on end-of-life care for clients with progressive disease.   Participants will explore the changes that occur with conversations and symptom assessment & management as clients near the […]

Course Format

This certificate consists of 3 courses, each 6-weeks in duration and delivered through the University of Toronto’s learning management system (Quercus).

What Others Have Said

Feel it should be key foundational learning for all NPs and RNs, within their initial training programs; helps to better orientate care, and care discussions with clients, and their families when faced with life limiting illnesses.

This course has really opened my eyes to the world of a palliative approach, and palliative care. Very well done

Excellent. Content, duration great, clinically relevant and easy to apply to everyday work

I appreciated that enthusiasm that all course faculty brought to the course and the material, and their support of the students. Thank you.

I found the Certificate in Palliative Care for Nurse Practitioners: Core Competencies for NP Practice to be challenging and has greatly improved my knowledge and understanding of NP practice in palliative care.

Contact Us

Centre for Professional Development
Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
University of Toronto
155 College Street, Suite 130
Toronto, ON, Canada
M5T 1P8