Department of Health

Key messages

  • A wide range of palliative care education and training is available in Victoria and nationwide for all disciplines and practitioners and all levels of competency.
  • Postgraduate training in palliative care is offered by the Centre for Palliative Care in collaboration with the University of Melbourne.
  • The Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) offers experiential training to improve the skills, confidence and expertise of all health practitioners who provide care to people and families with palliative care needs.
  • The Aboriginal palliative care program facilitates culturally safe and appropriate training.
  • Volunteer training and support programs are offered at most specialist palliative care services.
  • An education audit resource outlines training available in Victoria and nationally.

This page provides a brief overview into the wide range of palliative care education and training programs available in Victoria. Many courses are available nationally, often as on-line web-based modules.

Courses are available for a wide range of disciplines and at all levels of competency. For up-to-date listings visit the education section on the palliative care knowledge network, CaresearchExternal Link .

An audit of education and training available in Victoria and nationally was conducted by the Department of Health & Human Services. This resource is available as a download below.

Postgraduate training

In Victoria, formal postgraduate qualifications for all disciplines are offered through University of Melbourne in collaboration with the Centre for Palliative CareExternal Link . Some postgraduate courses are offered at La Trobe University.

The Victorian Palliative Medicine Training Program (VPMTP)External Link is a coordinated state-wide palliative medicine training program to address the training requirements for specialist palliative medicine physicians, physicians in other specialties, and general practitioners.

The Victorian Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Collaborative (VPCNPC)External Link provides individual Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Practitioner candidates with educational resources, a mentorship program and networking opportunities. Registered Nurses who have completed three years advanced practice in their area of practice can apply to become a Nurse Practitioner Candidate (NPC).

A number of courses can be credited toward a post-graduate degree in palliative care for all disciplines. These are provided by the Centre for Palliative CareExternal Link in collaboration with the University of Melbourne.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Registered Nurses can apply to the Aboriginal Postgraduate Nursing and Midwifery Scholarship ProgramExternal Link that offers the Cherie Waight Nursing Scholarship for postgraduate study.

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)

PEPA is a training program offering supervised clinical placements, workshops and post-placement support to healthcare workers.

This national flagship program is designed to improve the skills, confidence and expertise of all health practitioners who care for people who require end of life or palliative care and their families, friends and carers.

PEPA is available to general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals, Aboriginal health workers, personal care attendants, interpreters, aged care workers and other health workers.

PEPA is a flexible program with three core components:

  • supervised clinical placements with self-determined flexible learning to build knowledge and confidence and to enhance links between specialist palliative care providers and other service providers.
  • workshops on fundamental and specific topics in palliative care.
  • post-placement support activities including the opportunity to implement a quality activity of a participants own choice, back in the workplace.

More information, application forms and guidelines can be found on the Victorian PEPA websiteExternal Link or PEPA EducationExternal Link .

Contact details for PEPA Victoria are:

PEPA Manager
Centre for Palliative Care
Level 3, 100 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002
Phone (03) 9416 0000

Aboriginal palliative care program

The Victorian Aboriginal Palliative Care Program is delivered by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)External Link .

The program aims to facilitate culturally appropriate and safe training in palliative care for Aboriginal practitioners, either through the PEPA programExternal Link or other relevant training programs.

The objective is for Aboriginal people to have access to culturally safe palliative care services in the setting of their preference.


Volunteers are highly valued members of the palliative care workforce, and make a significant contribution to the care of people with life-limiting illness and the support of their families.

If you would like to be a volunteer, many specialist palliative care services offer training programs. To get involved, find a specialist palliative care service by using the palliative care directory toolExternal Link or visit the page Accessing palliative care.

Palliative Care Victoria provide further information on applying to be a volunteer and some resources for service providers.

The Victorian palliative care volunteer standards (downloadable below) aim to:

  • foster greater awareness of the role of volunteers in palliative care
  • support and promote volunteer engagement in palliative care
  • limit organisations’ legal liability with regard to volunteer engagement in palliative care services
  • assist organisations to develop volunteer policies and principles.

For more information on volunteering visit Palliative Care Victoria - volunteering sectionExternal Link , Victoria’s Volunteering PortalExternal Link , or Volunteering AustraliaExternal Link .

Reviewed 28 February 2022


Contact details

Palliative Care Program Department of Health and Human Services

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