Study awards lift in­ter­est

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page - Cara Jenkin

SOUTH Aus­tralia has fur­thered its place as a na­tional pi­o­neer in pal­lia­tive care train­ing with a new award be­ing pre­sented for stu­dents ex­celling in the field.

The Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide and Mary Pot­ter Foun­da­tion pre­sented the in­au­gu­ral Mary Pot­ter Medal for Pal­lia­tive Care to two fi­nal-year med­i­cal stu­dents last month.

Bren­ton Sys­ter­mans and Cather­ine Ch­ester­man were rec­om­mended for the award by se­nior pal­lia­tive medicine teach­ers at the Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide be­cause of their ex­cel­lence in work­ing with pa­tients with life-lim­it­ing ill­nesses.

Pal­lia­tive care pro­vides for the phys­i­cal, emo­tional, spir­i­tual and so­cial needs of the ter­mi­nally ill, as well as their fam­i­lies.

The medal, which comes with a $1000 prize, is funded by the Mary Pot­ter Foun­da­tion.

It was es­tab­lished in 1987 as the fundrais­ing arm of the na­tion­ally renowned Mary Pot­ter Hospice, which joined with the uni­ver­sity to pro­vide the award. The hospice, at Cal­vary Hospi­tal, North Ade­laide, is the largest pur­pose-built pal­lia­tive care unit in the state and the only pri­vate one.

Pa­tients are ad­mit­ted when in­ten­sive nurs­ing sup­port, symp­tom re­lief or pain con­trol is needed or when home car­ers need a rest.

All Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide med­i­cal stu­dents must com­plete a clin­i­cal at­tach­ment in a hospice dur­ing their train­ing. The award was in­tro­duced to in­crease aware­ness of pal­lia­tive care as a spe­cial­ist med­i­cal prac­tice.

Mary Pot­ter Foun­da­tion chair­man Danny Wat­son said pal­lia­tive care was in­creas­ing in im­por­tance be­cause of the age­ing com­mu­nity and spe­cialised staff would be in high de­mand in the next decade.

‘‘As a na­tion, we need to at­tract more ded­i­cated pro­fes­sion­als to this cru­cial area now so we can cope with the in­creas­ing de­mand that is al­ready ap­par­ent,’’ he said.

‘‘We be­lieve the medal is a step in that di­rec­tion.’’

He said the state al­ready had an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion in Aus­tralia for be­ing a pi­o­neer in pal­lia­tive care ex­cel­lence and train­ing.

‘‘The awards are an­other ex­am­ple of that glow­ing en­dorse­ment,’’ he said.

‘‘To the best of our knowl­edge, this is the first time awards of this cal­i­bre have been awarded at uni­ver­sity level any­where in Aus­tralia.’’

Ms Ch­ester­man said it was an hon­our to re­ceive the award.

‘‘The ex­pe­ri­ences I have had in pal­lia­tive care ro­ta­tions dur­ing med­i­cal school have been ex­cel­lent and very in­spi­ra­tional,’’ she said.

‘‘I hope this will help me to even­tu­ally pur­sue a ca­reer in pal­lia­tive medicine.’’

The medal is the lat­est in a se­ries of ar­range­ments be­tween the foun­da­tion and the uni­ver­sity’s Fac­ulty of Health Sciences.

The Mary Pot­ter se­nior lec­ture­ship in pal­lia­tive care was es­tab­lished two years ago, with Dr Greg Craw­ford ap­pointed to the in­au­gu­ral po­si­tion.

It aims to pro­vide med­i­cal stu­dents with en­hanced clin­i­cal train­ing as well as to con­duct fu­ture re­search in this in­creas­ingly im­por­tant area of med­i­cal train­ing.

A Mary Pot­ter pal­lia­tive care nurs­ing fel­low­ship was also launched in Au­gust with an in­ter­na­tional search for a highly qual­i­fied nurs­ing pro­fes­sional to un­der­take clin­i­cal re­search in the field.

The po­si­tion is be­ing funded by the Fay Fuller Foun­da­tion and the Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide for five years and will also re­view pre­vi­ous ev­i­dence-based stud­ies to de­velop best prac­tice.

NEW AWARD: Uni­ver­sity of Ade­laide fi­nal-year med­i­cal stu­dents Cather­ine Ch­ester­man and Bren­ton Sys­ter­mans with the Mary Pot­ter se­nior lec­turer in pal­lia­tive care, Dr Greg Craw­ford, cen­tre.

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