BACKGROUND: Relief of pain for patients requires that palliative care practitioners have knowledge and skill in both pain assessment and the use of pharmacologic and complementary therapies. METHOD: Pain assessment and management and the teaching strategies suggested within the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium curriculum are presented. RESULTS: By addressing the pain experienced by patients with life-limiting illnesses and those at the end of life, the quality of care can be greatly improved. As a multidimensional phenomenon that relates to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, the relief of pain enhances the quality of life of patients and lessens the stress experienced by family caregivers. CONCLUSION: The relief of pain and suffering is consistent with the philosophy and goals of nursing as a profession and is a nursing responsibility.