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 Faculty of Nursing & Health Sciences

Oncology and Palliative Care Nursing High Diploma

Letter from Dean/Chair

Guided by the unquestionable need for highly skilled and knowledgeable practitioners, we persisted and succeeded in launching  the Oncology Program despite all  challenges, obstacles and difficulties. Cancer patients and their families have had no access to quality nursing services ever before.

This need was emphasized through action research in the community, and we take great pride in being the first Palestinian university to open the first educational program in Palestine.

As a result, nurses in the Oncology departments in Palestinian hospitals will be able to deliver quality services with up-to date expertise.

The significance of this program stems from the fact that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Palestine. Now, Bethlehem University can better serve the community by supporting healthcare needs.

Part of this program will be palliative care which does not receive enough  focus in Palestine.

End of life nursing encompasses meeting the needs of the patients and their families to ease suffering in impossible circumstances.

I am so thankful to all those who have made this endeavor a reality, especially MAP and our supporters from the UK. Also special thank you goes to our friends from Glasgow for their heartfelt encouragement and support.

Program Members

Ms. Mariam Awad, Dean

Ms. Manar Al-Ali, Project Manager

Program Description

The Higher Diploma Program in Oncology and Palliative Care Nursing started in 2016.  It is a pioneer program in Palestine.  The main goal of this program is to improve the health status of cancer patients in Palestine. This will be achieved through the graduation of nurses who are knowledgeable, accountable, committed to quality improvements, use evidence-based approaches to patient care, make sound clinical judgments to improve the lives of patients, and are passionate about improving the science of cancer nursing through research. In addition, we nurture a compassionate approach to nursing care focusing on patients’ physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. This program is made up of 30 credit hours.

Program Offered

High Diploma in Oncology and Palliative Care Nursing

Specific Objectives of the Program

  1. Achieve significant benefits for Palestinian cancer patients through the care delivered to them by a more knowledgeable and skilled nursing workforce.

  2. Disseminate and share best cancer nursing practices throughout nursing and medical communities.

  3. Establish leaders and role models in cancer nursing practice in Palestine.

  4. Graduate highly motivated and confident cancer nurses capable of reflective practice.

  5. Ensure and sustain the enthusiasm and desire of cancer nurses to achieve effective and efficient cancer nursing care.

  6. Develop the status of cancer nursing research in Palestine.

  7. Encourage constructive criticism of poor or outdated practices and be an agent for change in cancer care in Palestine. 

  8. Ensure cancer nursing becomes an attractive field for nurses to work in.

  9. Generate respect of colleagues from other health disciplines through a more knowledgeable nursing workforce.

  10. Develop cancer nurses who possess the skills to contribute to the teaching of subsequent oncology nursing diplomas.

Program Learning Outcomes

The program graduates should be at a high level of qualification and competency to:

  1. Understand the biology, treatment and pathophysiology of cancer and cancer treatment-related disorders.

  2. Excel in clinical diagnosis and management of these disorders.

  3. Demonstrate clinical competency when providing quality nursing care for cancer patients.

  4. Understand clinical trial methodology and acquire competence in a selected research interest.

  5. Develop and evaluate a personal philosophy of oncology nursing based on the program philosophy through the process of reflective practice.

Degree Requirements

  • To receive a High Diploma in Oncology and Palliative Care Nursing from Bethlehem University, a student must complete 30 credit hours with a minimum of 2.00 in each of the program courses.



Number of credits

Major requirements


Total number of credits


List of Major Required Courses

Course code

Course Title

Number of credits


Context of Cancer Nursing


NOPC- 401

Basics of Science and Treatment of Cancer


NOPC- 402

Information and Communication in Cancer Care


NOPC- 403

Assessment and Intervention in Cancer Nursing


NOPC- 404

Cancer as a Chronic Illness; Palliative Care


NOPC- 450

Evidence –based & Applied Research in Cancer


NOPC- 460

Impact of Cancer


NOPC- 461

Cancer Nursing Leadership and Management


NOPC- 462

Internship Clinical Residency



Regular Students Paradigm

First Year

Fall Semester

Spring Semester


NOPC 400


NOPC 401


NOPC 402






NOPC 403


NOPC 404






Second Year

Summer Semester

Fall Semester


NOPC 461






NOPC 460


NOPC 450


NOPC 462







Course Description

1-      NOPC-400 Context of Cancer Nursing              3 Credits

This course introduces the learner to the key concepts which have shaped the development of cancer services at a national and international level. The study content explores how nations as well as individuals are affected by cancer incidence and diagnosis. The cultural basis for cancer attitudes and values will be explored as well as the relationship between self-beliefs and care practices. Different contexts of cancer provision are identified and the role of cancer prevention, detection, health promotion and patient education in reducing cancer incidence are explored and discussed.

2-      NOPC-401 Basics of Science and Treatment of Cancer        3 Credits

This course is about the basic science of, and the biological processes that contribute to the development of cancer. This knowledge is important not only in understanding how cancer arises, but also why and how cancer treatment is given. New developments in cancer treatment are occurring rapidly and the need to update knowledge and skills in this increasingly technical specialty is crucial for the nurse.

3-      NOPC-402 Information and Communication in Cancer Care   2 Credits

This course provides the knowledge and skills required to communicate effectively with cancer patients. One of the criticisms in cancer health care across many countries is that communication is poor between health professionals as well as between patients and care givers. Good communication can aid decision making and facilitate patient choice in self-management and independence. The student will have an understanding of the information requirements of patients with cancer at the time of diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.

4-      NOPC-403 Assessment and Intervention in Cancer Nursing    4 Credits

This course provides the knowledge and skills required to comprehensively assess an individual diagnosed with cancer. The ability to use appropriate tools to assess specific symptom problems or age-related issues is a necessity for modern cancer care. Identifying patients’ needs is essential if the management and intervention is to be appropriate. Nursing interventions have been shown to influence patient outcomes and their unmet needs. This module enhances decision-making and communication course. The practice skills are complementary to the development of assessment skills.

5-      NOPC-404 Cancer as a Chronic Illness, Palliative Care       4 credits

This course provides the knowledge and skills required to support patients undergoing treatment into survivorship and advanced disease. Cancer is increasingly being managed over many years; therefore, understanding co-morbidity and long term consequences of cancer and its treatment is essential to the management of long term follow up. Advanced cancer also provides challenges for oncology nurses in managing symptoms, transitions in care and palliative care issues.

6-      NOPC-450 Evidence Based and Applied Research in Cancer 4 Credits

This course aims to develop the skills of the nurse in being able to search, retrieve and critique evidence for cancer practice. These skills require understanding of the research process and the role of the cancer nurse in the development of new therapies and cancer knowledge. One of the difficulties of evidence-based practice is its implementation, and this module explores the barriers to change and dissemination.

7-      NOPC-460 The Impact of Cancer 2 Credits

This course explores the impact that cancer diagnosis and treatment has on the individuals and their families. It is recognized that a cancer diagnosis can cause high levels of psychological and physical morbidity, influencing quality of life, functional ability and employment. The uncertainty of cancer survival, fear of recurrence as well as the way patients manage their illness can impact recovery for both individuals and their families.

8-      NOPC-461 Cancer Nursing Leadership and Management 3 credits

This course will enable the learner to facilitate team management and provide the necessary skills to organize work and practice development within a cancer setting. Multidisciplinary team work is essential in cancer care and development of skills in interpersonal relationships; communication and workforce development are essential for the future.

9-      NOPC-462 Internship Clinical Residency 5 Credits

 Following completion of the above mentioned courses, students register in this course. This an extended practicum course where the student is provided with an opportunity to practice autonomously in the oncology and palliative care departments in a base hospital and/or in centers and homes. To ensure competence and autonomy in practice when making judgments and decisions, the student keeps a journal of oncology cases in practice from the outset of the program. The personal journal is an important aspect of the program evaluation strategy. To pass this course, the student has to complete 600 hours in oncology and palliative care departments, centers and homes.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine