Master’s in Medical-Surgical Nursing - Palliative Care

The study program’s generic objectives:

  • Develop a practice of nursing care in situations of greater complexity, addressing human responses to life processes and health problems of the client and family in palliative situations, in the hospital and community context
  • Act according to ethical-deontological and legal obligations, promoting security, respecting human rights and professional responsibilities
  • Lead teams and processes in the field of nursing and health care
  • Conduct processes for the use, production and dissemination of scientific knowledge and the creation of original nursing projects
  • Start innovation and sustained changes in knowledge, collaboration and consultation, in multidisciplinary contexts
  • Communicate with the palliative person and family, in a therapeutic context and with the public, specialist or not, in other contexts
  • Assume their professional development, promoting discipline and valuing the profession.

Intended learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and competences) to be developed by the students:

  • Manage nursing care, from a perspective of care centered on the person in palliative situation and family (PPSnF), in multi professional work contexts
  • Adopt human, ethical-deontological and legal conduct, promoting the security and dignity of the PPSnF
  • Establish a therapeutic relationship with PPSnF, promoting comfort and well-being
  • Integrate knowledge of nursing and other disciplines, in decision making, in the care of PPSnF
  • Collaborate in the production, use and dissemination of scientific evidence on PPSnF nursing care
  • Lead teams and processes for organizing care, change and innovation, with a view to continuous quality improvement
  • Adopt strategies that promote self-development, that of peers and other professionals, in the face of illness, death and grief
  • Adopt collaborative conduct and consultation in multidisciplinary teams, in different contexts of care of PPSnF
  • Communicate with diverse audiences in different contexts in the dimension of care

Insertion of the study program in the institutional educational offer strategy, in light of the mission of the institution and its educational, scientific and cultural project:
ESEL establishes the mission of presenting itself as a “center for the creation, development, transmission and diffusion of nursing culture and science, which aims at excellence and innovation” (ESEL Statutes, 2009). In this context, the training component is the center of ESEL's activity, which is why its educational project includes courses at the level of 3 study cycles: undergraduate, master’ sand doctoral degrees (the latter in collaboration with the University of Lisbon) thus giving meeting the expectations of the large number of candidates for pre- and post-graduate training at ESEL and, also, the needs in human resources, in health.
In terms of postgraduate training, specifically master's degrees, there has been a progressive increase in clients in recent years, which demonstrates a sustained interest by nurses in their training and qualification and the need for institutions to have human resources with more knowledge and skills of understanding and intervention, at the level of more specific areas of specialty.
The recent reflection on the offer of the master's degrees already existing at ESEL, identified the need for further deepening and scientific autonomy of the various areas of nursing care for which ESEL has its own qualified and specialized teaching staff, which will allow the development of teams and their skills and the reinforcement of research, within the scope of the nursing discipline.
The present master's proposal is a response to the needs of people in palliative situations.
The various scientific, social and economic progress achieved over time contributed to the increase in average life expectancy in Portugal, estimated at 80.64 years (INE, 2017), thus contributing to the increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases. According to PEDCP 2019-2020, people with severe or incurable disease, in an advanced and progressive stage, residing in the national territory, must have access to quality CP, regardless of their age, diagnosis, place of residence or socioeconomic level, from the diagnosis to grief. It is estimated that the Portuguese population that will need palliative care, in the next biennium, has an increase between 75,614to 89,861 people, most likely reflecting the aging of the population and the diseases associated with it, namely degenerative and oncological diseases (PEDCP 2019-2020).
It is in this context that the master’s course in Medical-Surgical Nursing - Person in Palliative Situation is created, with the aim of training specialized nurses, capable of responding to the specificity and complexities of situations and managing nursing care. to people with complex palliative needs.


Plano de Estudos / Study plan-1st year- 1st semester          
Unidade Curricular / Curricular Unit Área Científica /Scientific Area (1) Duração /Duration (2) Horas Trabalho /Working Hours (3) Horas Contacto /Contact Hours (4) ECTS Opcional Observações/Observations(5)
Advanced Nursing 723 semiannual 108 T-10; TP-18; S-15; 4   -
Research 723 semiannual 81 T-10; TP-4; PL-8; S-10; 3   -
Nursing Ethics and Deontology 723 semiannual 54 T-10; TP-5; TC-2; OT-5; 2   -
History and philosophy of palliative care 723 semiannual 81 T-20; TP-12; 3   -
Symptom management in palliative care 723 semiannual 162 T-15; TP-35; S-15; 6   -
Symptom management in palliative care: specific diseases 723 semiannual 108 T-9; TP-15; TC-9; S-10; 4   -
Caring for people in the last days or hours of life and their families 723 semiannual 108 T-20; TP-23; 4   -
Caring for families and supporting grief 723 semiannual 108 T-10; TP-18; S-5; OT-10; 4   -
Plano de Estudos / Study plan-1st year- 2nd semester        
Unidade Curricular / Curricular Unit Área Científica /Scientific Area(1) Duração /Duration(2) Horas Trabalho /Working Hours(3) Horas Contacto /Contact Hours(4) ECTS Opcional Observações /Observations (5)
Nursing Management and Leadership 723 semiannual 81 T-22; TP-10; 3    
Organization and Management of Pallitive Care Services 723 semiannual 108 T-13; TP-15; S-10; OT-5; 4    
Communication with people in palliative situation and their families 723 semiannual 162 T-20; TP-45; 6    
Optional course – Caring of children in palliative situations and their families 723 semiannual 54 T-15; TP-10; 2 1 -
Optional course - Caring of people with dementia in palliative situations and their families 723 semiannual 54 T-15; TP-10; 2 1 -
Internship with a project 723 semiannual 405 TP-14; S-30; E-230; OT-10; 15 1 For Internship with Report
Project development/ Dissertation project 723 semiannual 405 T-10; TP-45; TC-32; S-20; OT-55; 15 1 For courses Project Work or Dissertation of a Scientific Nature
Plano de Estudos / Study plan-2ndt year- 1st semester          
Unidade Curricular /Curricular Unit Área Científica /Scientific Area (1) Duração /Duration (2) Horas Trabalho /Working Hours (3) Horas Contacto /Contact Hours (4) ECTS Opcional Observações /Observations (5)
Internship with learning report 723 semiannual 810 S-20; E-522; OT-25; 30 1 The student chooses one of the routes
Project work 723 semiannual 810 TC-284; S-20; OT-20; 30 1 The student chooses one of the routes
Dissertation 723 semiannual 810 TC-284; S-20; OT-20; 30 1 The student chooses one of the routes