Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Nursing


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Professor Linda Kristjanson


This paper presents the findings of a study of rural palliative care nurses in Western Australia. The numbers of rural centres in Western Australia offering palliative care services are increasing; however at present there is little empirical data available about the roles of the nurses involved. This study was undertaken to begin to correct this deficit. The study examines basic social processes associated with the role of rural palliative care nurses and identities issues that affect the nurses’ professional practice. A modified grounded theory approach was used to form a conceptual framework that describes rural palliative care nursing. Theoretical sampling techniques were used to identify the six palliative care nurses working in rural Western Australia who participated in this study. Data was generated using in depth interview and participant observation techniques. Constant comparative analysis of the data was employed to allow concepts to emerge from the data. The central theme that developed from the data Living Palliative Care describes the all-consuming nature of the rural palliative care nurses’ role. Three related categories, Wearing Many Huts, Being the Expert and Surviving in Palliative Care are also discussed. This research has explored issues that rural palliative care nurses feel are relevant to their professional practice and it describes the basic social processes inherent in the rural palliative care nurse’s role. Recommendations for nursing research, education, administration and clinical practice are presented.

Included in

Nursing Commons