Published on October 28, 2021

Clark Earns Advanced Hospice, Palliative Care Certification

STARKVILLE, Mississippi—North Mississippi Medical Center Hematology and Oncology nurse practitioner Melinda Clark, AOCNP, has earned advanced certification from the Hospice and Palliative Certification Center.

Clark is only the ninth advance practice registered nurse in the state of Mississippi to have earned the certification.

“It is an honor to be allowed the opportunity to help others in their most vulnerable, and unexpected, moments,” Clark said.

Through a competitive process, she was selected to participate in a national three-day course sponsored by the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium in Atlanta as part of the certification process.

“Serving as a nurse practitioner in oncology, Melinda sees patients on a daily basis who require a special focus on symptom management. Additionally, she assists patients with what to expect and planning for the future,” wrote NMMC palliative care specialist Lindsey Hinton, M.D., in support of Clark’s selection for the course.

Hospice care is a holistic approach to end-of-life care typically offered when a patient is expected to live six months or less and has decided to stop seeking curative treatment. Palliative care also takes a holistic approach to symptom management and planning, but includes patients still in active treatment as well as hospice patients.

Expert nursing care has the potential to greatly reduce the burden and distress of those facing life’s end and the ability to offer support for the many physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families, according to the Hospice and Palliative Certification Center. The skills-based, innovative program educates advanced practice nurses and expands the nursing workforce to meet a critical need for palliative care in oncology across the life span and across clinical settings.

To be eligible for the certification, Clark had to complete 500 practice hours in the field of palliative and hospice care and hold an advance practice nursing degree from an accredited university. She had to pass a proctored exam to earn the certification.

Clark, who has a 40-year career in nursing, earned her diploma in practical nursing from East Mississippi Community College in Mayhew and her associate degree in nursing from Excelsior College in Albany, New York. She completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing from South University in Savannah, Georgia, and her master’s degree in nursing for adult acute care from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She earned family nurse practitioner certification from South University. Since 2012, she also has held Advanced Oncology certification.

NMMC Hematology and Oncology have locations in Tupelo and Starkville. Clark cares for patients at the Starkville location.  

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