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Our History

Honoring our History …  Get to know your Canadian Palliative Care Nursing Association roots!!  


“The present gets its sense from the background of comparable events to which it belongs….discovering or rediscovering the story, picking up the thread, reminding ourselves where we stand, where we have been and where we are going—these are as important for groups as for individuals.”      

- Historian and philosopher David Carr


As part of the forever unfolding growth story of something larger than ourselves, our hope is the reader dedicates their time to get to know the complete historical leadership journey of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Nurses (CHPCN) Group. You will appreciate what shaped us into the evolution and formation of the CPCNA leadership of today all the while recognizing the consistent volunteer CHPCN board and membership resilience, dedication, collaborations, and accomplishments that motivated the move forward to the present times.

Our sincere belief is that by doing so, it will truly help enlighten a better understanding as we continue to work together to enhance future dedicated national HPC nursing practice and initiatives. Our past has a huge impact on our future and we draw upon that inspiration to demonstrate that.

We invite you to read the following synopsis (below) and to view/download the full document authored by CPCNA’s Honorary Lifetime Members Judy Simpson and Laurie Anne O’Brien. It outlines the initial historical journey of Canadian HPC nursing leadership. 

An Evolution of HPC Nursing Leadership in Canada



End-of-life care hospice principles, interprofessional practice and settings established its roots in the UK in the 1960’s. This inspired palliative care establishment beginnings in Canada in the mid-1970s. Leaders of this pioneering Canadian formation included dedicated nurses who were at the forefront in succeeding to set the stage for nationally professionalized hospice palliative care (HPC) nursing.

Long before we had the communication privileges of today’s technology of internet, e mail, online environment (Zoom, Skype, Facetime) and social media (Facebook and Messenger) etc., the initial HPC nursing coast to coast communication connection originated  when HPC nurses were able to finally gather and network face-to-face at national palliative care conferences which commenced in the 1990s.

After that point there then began in 1993 the formation of an informal and later formal Canadian HPC Nursing Group with representation across Canada. This dynamic inaugural group went on to develop and provide exemplary nursing leadership and collaboration with elected Boards of Directors and dedicated members.


Since that time, the group has responded to and held a primary role in the evolution of Canadian HPC in general and HPC Nursing in particular locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Nurses voluntarily stepped up to the plate, came together in the beginning , worked resiliently over the years, formed lifelong connections and collaborations, and celebrated achievements along the way. 

Some of these Canadian HPC nursing leadership achievements include:

  • Defined the unique characteristics of HPC nursing;

  • Identified and developed nursing HPC nursing standards and  competencies;

  • Created and advanced HPC clinical practice guidelines;

  • Advocated for, achieved and maintained national hospice palliative care nursing certification through the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA);

  • Provided guidance in managing HPC nursing professional concerns such as quality assurance, ethics, role definition, interdisciplinary team dynamics and professional advocacy;

  • Provided education, professional development opportunities for and by HPC nurses;

  • Had an impact on the integration of core palliative and end-of-life concepts and competencies into other nursing specialties;

  • Collaborated on initiatives to enhance both the growth of hospice palliative care in Canada and the implementation of the palliative approach to care;

  • Became recognized as the “go to group” for HPC nursing leadership and expertise in Canada.

As cited in the closing of the full document, all that HPC nursing leadership has accomplished “is forever dedicated to those persons and families who, through their suffering and loss, have motivated us to improve our knowledge, skills and understanding in order to bring greater peace and comfort to those who have entrusted and who will entrust their care to us in the future”.

We hope that this synopsis has tweaked your interest and that you will take the time to read the complete historical journey of the HPCN group, now CPCNA. 



Our Logo

The meaning of the CPNCA logo

The oak tree was chosen as it is grounded through its strong roots and trunk, representing palliative nursing strength born through integrity, courage, intelligence, and trust. This strong grounding supports others to have compassionate and quality care through to end of life. Orange, green and blue were selected as the core colors as they represent our values of integrity, trust, loyalty, intelligence, courage, originality and growth. 

“The past is a kind of screen upon which we project our vision of the future.”

-Carl Becker.

Click here to view/download the full version of

An Evolution of Hospice Palliative Care Nursing Leadership in Canada.

Get Involved with CPCNA to help continue this great work of palliative care nurses in Canada. 

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