Characterizing the Hospice and Palliative Care Workforce in the U.S. Clinician Demographics and Professional Responsibilities

Arif H. Kamal, Janet Bull, Steven Wolf, Gregory P. Samsa, Keith M. Swetz, Evan R. Myers, Tait D. Shanafelt, Amy P. Abernethy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Context Palliative care services are growing at an unprecedented pace. Yet, the characteristics of the clinician population who deliver these services are not known. Information on the roles, motivations, and future plans of the clinician workforce would allow for planning to sustain and grow the field. Objectives To better understand the characteristics of clinicians within the field of hospice and palliative care. Methods From June through December 2013, we conducted an electronic survey of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine members. We queried information on demographics, professional roles and responsibilities, motivations for entering the field, and future plans. We compared palliative care and hospice populations alongside clinician roles using chi-square analyses. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify predictors of leaving the field early. Results A total of 1365 persons, representing a 30% response rate, participated. Our survey findings revealed a current palliative care clinician workforce that is older, predominantly female, and generally with less than 10 years clinical experience in the field. Most clinicians have both clinical hospice and palliative care responsibilities. Many cite personal or professional growth or influential experiences during training or practice as motivations to enter the field. Conclusion Palliative care clinicians are a heterogeneous group. We identified motivations for entering the field that can be leveraged to sustain and grow the workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-603
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pain and symptom management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Workforce
  • nurses
  • palliative care
  • physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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