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Palliative and Hospice Care graduate certificate

This post-baccalaureate certificate is designed to prepare individuals interested in palliative and hospice care with a deep understanding of the personal, professional, economic, and legal perspectives of delivering care to patients facing life-limiting disease, terminal illness, and death.

Person-centered, family-oriented care should be a priority, according to the 2014 Institute of Medicine report, Dying in America. The report acknowledges the need for better palliative care education in order to meet the goal of high quality, affordable care for persons with life-limiting illness.

Visit the program website for more information.

Requirements and Course Delivery

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited college or university. It is not required to be admitted to a graduate degree program to be admitted to a certificate program.

A combination of in-seat and online classes is utilized by an experienced interprofessional team of palliative and hospice care faculty members and clinicians to deliver course content. The certificate is coordinated through The Bonnie Wesorick Center for Health Care Transformation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Contrast the interdisciplinary philosophy and delivery of care with existing traditional medical models.
  • Delineate common types of pain and pain syndromes that contribute to symptom burden in individuals with life-limiting illness.
  • Develop strategies to alleviate the complex symptoms of individuals with chronic and terminal illness using a team approach.
  • Incorporate behaviors that acknowledge grieving and loss into routine care planning for individuals seeking palliative and hospice care.
  • Assimilate evidence-based strategies into effective provider communication that integrates patients and families as the unit of care.
  • Utilize an interdisciplinary framework to support and develop a plan of care for individuals who require palliative and/or hospice care.

Why Study Palliative and Hospice Care at Grand Valley?

  • Gain a deep understanding of the personal, professional, and societal perspectives of delivering care to patients facing life-limiting disease, terminal illness, and death to become champions for the delivery of exceptional care.
  • Assess treatment preferences, positioning organizations to better manage symptoms, increase patient satisfaction, and ensure efficient use of organizational resources.

Helpful Links

For More Information

Kirkhof College of Nursing
301 Michigan St. NE, Suite 453
(616) 331-3558

Graduate Admissions Office

Application Deadline

Deadline for fall semester is February 1. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Location & Format

Classes for the program are a combination of online and in-seat on the GVSU Health Campus, near the Grand Rapids Medical Mile and on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Format: Hybrid


The certificate consists of 12 credit hours by completing four graduate level courses:

  • NUR 581 - Chronic and Terminal Illness: The Palliative and Hospice Model
  • NUR 582 - Complex Pain and Symptom Management
  • SW 669 - Death, Grief, and Loss
  • Choice of one elective  NUR 607, NUR 620, PA 364, SW 616, or SW 671