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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Pediatric Palliative Care

william f. connell school of nursing

"It will not always be easy, but it will be one of the most rewarding aspects of your career.
For me, providing pediatric palliative care is an art, an honor, and a privilege."

—Vanessa Battista, CPNP, Clinical Instructor, Pediatric Palliative Care Program

Explore materials from 2011 Pediatric Palliative Care Regional Conference here.




What is pediatric palliative care nursing?

Pediatric palliative care helps relieve the physical and emotional suffering of children and adolescents living with serious illness with the goal of improving quality of life. It also supports family members throughout the changing disease course and prepares them for all outcomes. Through culturally sensitive communication, management of symptoms, and support in decision-making, palliative care can ease the distress caused by a child's condition. It is appropriate for all children and adolescents living with severe chronic conditions.

Pediatric palliative care at Boston College

The pediatric palliative care sub-specialty will provide graduate students and advanced practice nurses with the education and training to care for patients and their families from the time of diagnosis and throughout the course of the illness. Students will learn about foundations of illness, providing care throughout the changing disease course, maintaining quality of life, and pain and symptom management. Through clinical practicum, they will also learn to directly care for a diverse population of children and adolescents with a variety of serious illnesses. They will learn to care for the whole person and to look beyond the diagnosis to meet the patients' and family members' needs every step of the way.

Career advancement

In many health care facilities, pediatric palliative care is a new area of specialization, and offers you the opportunity to:

  1. Join an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals
  2. Advocate for services for the vulnerable and financially disadvantaged
  3. Shape policy and contribute to developing legislation
  4. Advance the program by evaluating outcomes and measuring the quality of patient and family satisfaction

Sample program of study


  • NU 640 - Palliative Care 1: Foundations of Life-Threatening Illness, Disease Progression, and Quality of Life (Theory) (3 credits)


  • NU 645 - Pediatric Palliative Care II: Pain, Symptoms, and Suffering in the Child with Life-Threatening Illness (Theory) (3 credits)
  • NU 646 - Palliative Care II: Pediatric Practicum (3 credits)


  • NU 643 - Pediatric Palliative Care III: Palliative Care and the Advanced Practice Nursing Role (Theory) (3 credits)
  • NU 647 - Palliative Care III: Pediatric Practicum (3 credits)

As preparation for possible future specialty certification, students in the pediatric palliative care program will complete a minimum of 750 clinical hours.


Join the pediatric palliative care program

Students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds become pediatric nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists with a concentration in pediatric palliative care through specialized program options. Each leads to a master of science degree in nursing (or an additional specialty certificate if you already hold a master's degree in nursing), but has unique requirements based on your previous academic experience. Find your program options.


Contact us

For more information, contact Gracie Trotman at 617-552-6283 or

MS Plan of Study

Course description/schedule listings »

Download the PDF postcard »

Apply now »


This project is supported in part by funds from the Division of Nursing (DN), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under grant number D09HP07456 and title Advanced Education Nursing Grants.  The information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by the Division of Nursing, BHPr, DHHS or the U.S. Government.