Self-Care in Palliative Care Nursing and Medical Professionals: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Jason Mills, Timothy Wand, Jennifer A. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Self-care is an important consideration for palliative care professionals. To date, few details have been recorded about the nature or uptake of self-care practices in the palliative care workforce. As part of a broader mixed methods study, this article reports findings from a national survey of nurses and doctors.

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine perceptions, education, and practices relating to self-care among palliative care nursing and medical professionals.

Design: A cross-sectional survey using REDCap software was conducted between April and May 2015. Perceived importance of self-care, self-care education and planning, and self-care strategies most utilized were explored. Descriptive statistics were calculated and content analysis used to identify domains of self-care.

Setting/Subjects: Three hundred seventy-two palliative care nursing and medical professionals practicing in Australia. Results: Most respondents regarded self-care as very important (86%). Some rarely practised self-care and less than half (39%) had received training in self-care. Physical self-care strategies were most commonly reported, followed closely by social self-care and inner self-care. Self-care plans had been used by a small proportion of respondents (6%) and over two-thirds (70%) would consider using self-care plans if training could be provided.

Conclusions: Self-care is practised across multiple health related domains, with physical self-care strategies used most frequently. Australian palliative care nurses and doctors recognize the importance of self-care practice, but further education and training are needed to increase their understanding of, and consistency in, using effective self-care strategies. These findings carry implications for professional practice and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-630
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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