April 13, 2016 – Joan G. Carpenter, MN, CRNP, NP-C, GNP-C, ACHPN, nurse practitioner at Coastal Hospice, has received the national 2016 Hospice and Palliative Nurse of the Year Award. She received the award in March in Chicago at the Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.
Carpenter’s ACHPN certification — designating that she is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse — demonstrates to patients and families, colleagues and the community that she has achieved the skills and knowledge to practice at the full extent of advance practice nursing education and palliative care training.
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness, with the goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Joan began her nursing career caring for persons with cancer, HIV/AIDs, and neurological disease. Once prepared as a nurse practitioner, she focused on caring for persons in long-term care and their families and quickly realized the need for expertise in palliative care, including advance care planning and clarifying goals of care.
“I found that I was able to make a substantial difference in my patients’ lives,” she said. “I realized that because I was there to provide palliative care to patients, the outcome for many was very different.”
At Coastal Hospice, Carpenter performs inpatient palliative care consultations at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, makes home visits to hospice patients, and develops practices to increase the utilization and acceptability of hospice and palliative care.
“Her bedside manner and kindness with dying patients is evident by all who work with her,” said Karen Bailey, Coastal Hospice’s palliative team social worker. “Joan is able to be honest but kind and has a wonderful way of having extremely difficult conversations.”
Over the past five years, Carpenter has been performing funded research centering on gerontological palliative care and has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
Carpenter, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh before moving to the Eastern Shore in 2006, received her degrees from Penn State University and the Medical College of Georgia. She recently completed all requirements for her doctoral degree at the University of Utah College of Nursing.
Founded in 1980, Coastal Hospice is a nonprofit health care organization that cares for individuals facing life-limiting conditions but who want to remain as active and engaged as possible. Coastal Hospice cares for patients in their home, nursing home, assisted living facility or at Coastal Hospice at the Lake.