Palliative Care 2 Complex Symptom Management

This 6-week online course focuses on complex symptom management for clients with progressive disease. Participants will review health assessment including appropriate use of screening and diagnostics tools to gather information about clinical symptoms and disease progression. They will explore the etiology and mechanisms of specific symptoms experienced by clients with serious illnesses, apply clinical decision making to formulate a plan of care for symptoms, including appropriate pharmacological and non-pharmacological intervention, as well as develop plans to support clients and caregivers to educate and empower them in managing symptoms. Participants will also explore complex planning & intervention for multiple coexisting symptoms and symptoms crisis situations. The course will utilize a series of case scenarios to enhance learning and application.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Articulate appropriate application of common assessment & screening tools, approaches and resources used to gather information about clinical symptoms and disease progression for adult clients living with a progressive and life-limiting illness.
  • Discuss the impact of symptoms on a client’s lived experience and importance of appropriate symptom management along the entire progressive and life-limiting illness disease trajectory.
  • For each of the common symptoms experienced by clients living with a progressive and life-limiting illness:
    1. Identify common symptom presentations & concerns.
    2. Describe pathophysiology & etiology of symptoms.
    3. Discuss holistic symptom assessment including disease/symptom specific tools & diagnostics.
    4. Describe pharmacological and non-pharmacological symptom management.
    5. Describe ongoing monitoring & adjustments to plan of care (e.g. symptom progression, crisis, undesirable side effects).
  • Apply clinical decision making to develop a plan of care that is consistent with client’s goals & wishes.
  • Educate client’s and their families on symptom management strategies that support self-care.
  • Apply symptom management approaches, tools & strategies to own practice environment/population.

Certificate Criteria

This is the second of three online courses as part of the Certificate in Palliative Care for Nurse Practitioners: Core Competencies for NP Practice. Participants successfully completing all three courses within a two-year period will receive the continuing education certificate.


The certificate is for Nurse Practitioners (and/or Nurse Practitioner Program students) and those in Advanced Practice and/or CNS roles who, as part of their routine practice, may be responsible for the care of adult clients with progressive and life-limiting illnesses. The practice setting may include acute care, long-term care, community, primary care or private practice.

Course participants must hold current registration as a Nurse Practitioner in their province (or as a Registered Nurse enrolled in a Nurse Practitioner program; or working in an Advanced Practice Role)

Registration Now Open

Registration closes January 27th, 2025

Course Outline

This is a 6-week online course delivered through the University of Toronto’s learning management system. It is estimated that up to 6 hours of study per week is required for successful completion. In each of the 6 weeks of the course participants are expected to view a one-hour e-learning module, review required readings, actively engage with the course material by responding to questions related to the readings, post completed learning activities in the Learning Portal, and contribute to the discussion board with fellow participants. Participants can progress through the course at their own pace each week, however the modules must be completed in order and there is a weekly short quiz; 5 discussion board learning activities, & 1 LIVE participation session, with specific due dates.  Online discussion activities provide opportunity for participants to learn from the varied experiences, roles and perspectives of other clinicians. One LIVE (via Zoom) session will take place for faculty & participants to engage a practice session to apply conversation tools (alternative option is also available for this activity).

Please note for this course the week runs from the Monday to the Sunday evening following.

TimeDescriptionEvaluative Components

Week 1

Overview/introduction to symptom management in palliative care

Focus on pain assessment & management

Quiz/Case Activity & Discussion Post

Week 2

Focus on dyspnea and cough assessment & management

Quiz/Case Activity & Discussion Post

Week 3

Focus on thrush, swallowing, dysphagia, nausea, and vomiting assessment & management

Quiz/Case Activity & Discussion Post

Week 4

Focus on constipation, anorexia, cachexia, and fatigue assessment & management

Quiz/Case Activity & Discussion Post

Week 5

Focus on delirium, dementia, depression, and anxiety assessment & management

Quiz/Case Activity & Discussion Post

Week 6

Focus on hopelessness, well being, and spiritual care assessment & management

Quiz/Case Activity & Discussion Post

Course Format

Delivery Mode

This online course is offered through the University of Toronto Learning Portal – QUERCUS. Each week, participants will be expected to view e-learning modules, review required readings and resources, and actively engage with learning activities that will focus on application of learning. Learning activities and assignments/examinations will provide opportunity to apply learnings and receive feedback. Participants can expect to allocate approximately 5 or more hours a week for completion of a module; and additional time for assignments.

Teaching Methods

Each week consists of a recorded lecture by expert clinician faculty. and who will be available for questions through discussion board during their module. Each module focuses on discussion of the appropriate health assessment, relevant differential diagnoses, pathophysiology, red flags, use of diagnostic tests and screening tools, selection of appropriate interventions and treatments, and indications for referral and/or consultation, and considerations in transitions in care/discharge. Additional clinical resources are provided such as clinical practice guidelines, relevant practice standards, and clinical tools for practice.


Cindy Shobbrook

Nurse Practitioner at Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network 

Yvonne P. Rowe Samadhin

Nurse Practitioner Hospice Palliative Care, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network

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Palliative Care 3: End-of-Life Care Management

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Registration Information

$735 + HST
$810 + HST
$690 + HST
$690 + HST
$690 + HST

Site Groups

A group discount rate of 15% is available for site groups of three or more people. To book please contact

Please Note

  • Refund Policy – To withdraw from a course, send a written request to by December 27, 2024. No refunds will be given after this date. All refunds are subject to an administrative fee of $100 + tax. Alternatively, a colleague may attend in your place. Please send your substitution request at least 3 days prior to the course to
  • Registration deadline: January 27, 2025.
  • *U of T Nursing Alumni discount is available to participants who hold a BScN, MN, PMNP Diploma, MScN or PhD from the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.
  • **U of T Nursing Faculty discount is available to participants who hold a current faculty position, an adjunct appointment or a status appointment to the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
  • ***NPAO (Nurse Practitioner Association of Ontario) members may register at the NPAO rate which is 15% off the regular rate. Please note, your name will be used to confirm that you are a member of the NPAO.
  • Applicable taxes (13% HST) will be added to the registration fees.
  • Course Cancellation Policy – The Centre for Professional Development reserves the right to cancel courses due to circumstances. The decision to cancel a course is normally made 15 days prior to the course. If you are enrolled in a course which is subsequently cancelled, you may apply your fee to another course, or receive a full refund. The Centre is not responsible for any travel or other expenses incurred by you.

Financial Assistance

OSAP for Micro-credentials

The Ontario Student Assistance Program now offers funding for micro-credentials (short training programs offered by post-secondary institutions), including a number of courses offered by the Centre for Professional Development. This funding initiative is part of Ontario’s micro-credentials strategy, helping learners access more opportunities to train or upskill for in-demand jobs through loans and grants.

OSAP for Micro-credentials is available for eligible students taking a ministry-approved micro-credential that is less than 12 weeks. 

To be eligible for OSAP for Micro-credentials, a student must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a protected person; and, be a resident of Ontario.  

Ontario residency requirements for the purposes of OSAP for Micro-credentials are consistent with Full-Time OSAP residency criteria. 

Students may be ineligible for the following reasons:

  • they do not meet the Ontario residency requirement 
  • their family income threshold is above the income threshold to qualify for funding (i.e., $80,000 for a family of one person; $100,000 for a family of two or more people) 
  • they are restricted from OSAP for Micro-credentials (e.g., have defaulted on a previous OSAP loan, they have a failed credit check on file, they have a bursary overpayment)

Step 1: Confirm that the University of Toronto micro-credential course you want to take is OSAP-approved.

Step 2: Log in to your OSAP account. If this is your first time applying, you will need to create an OSAP account. 

Step 3: From the options listed, select and complete the OSAP for Micro-credentials Application. You can only receive OSAP for Micro-credentials funding for one course at a time.

Step 4: Once you have completed your application, you will receive communication through your OSAP account, which will guide you in completing a supplementary form on the Service Portal. 

The form requires the following information: 

  • Full Name 
  • Date of Birth 
  • Name of Program 
  • Program Study Period – start and end dates 

This must be completed by the end of the study period. 

Step 5: Your division will confirm the information that you have submitted is correct and confirm your registration status. 

Step 6: The University Registrar’s Office will update the OSAP for Micro-credentials Application with the information provided by both you and your division and process your confirmation of enrolment.

Step 7: If you have not already done so, enrol and pay for the micro-credential course you would like to take.

Note: you must be registered in an OSAP approved micro-credential program before OSAP funding will be issued/released. 

Contact Us

Centre for Professional Development
Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
University of Toronto
155 College Street, Suite 130
Toronto, ON, Canada
M5T 1P8