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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
Nurses make up the majority of the health care workforce and as such are at the frontline in caring for the sick and dying, never more so than in caring for people during COVID-19. Deb Rawlings, Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care at College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, reflects on her 40 years of experience in nursing, Florence Nightingale's legacy, and resources to support nurses in providing care at the end of life.
A significant feature of the 2019-20 Federal Budget for healthcare professionals, and patients and their carers was that it foreshadowed a shift in funding arrangements for chronic disease management within primary care for people aged over 70. Katharine Silk, Innovation and Integration Manager at Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA) discusses how the federal budget may impact primary care nurses.
About a third of Australian nurses work in rural and remote practice and many are sole practitioners working in geographically diverse and challenging areas. This requires nurses to have a diverse range of skills, professional and otherwise, including the need to provide quality palliative care. One of our biggest challenges is in being able to maintain those skills in their environment. Ann Aitken, Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Services, discusses how the palliAGEDnurse and palliAGEDgp apps provide nurses and their medical colleagues a way to gain 24/7 offline palliative care information to help them in their practice.
I started out my career as an enrolled nurse and after a few short term positions spent 21 years at Ashford Hospital. While I was there and aged about 33, my brother died after a short diagnosis of cancer at age 35 – way too young and with much still to give. He spent a few weeks in Daw House hospice – my introduction to this facility and palliative care. I was so inspired with the way care could be delivered and the compassion with which staff went about their work that I decided then and there that this was the way I wished to work going forward. I learnt that, at that time, there was no hope of employment at Daw House for an enrolled nurse, so decided that I would study to become a registered nurse to realise my desire to work in this field.
Module two takes us from ‘Engaging with Death and Dying’ in week one to ‘Representations of Death and Dying’. This includes an exploration of how death and dying are portrayed across a variety of medium such as art, literature, film and television and how their portrayal impacts on our day-to-day lives.
Initially we look at Death and Dying via Art and History. In history, we find instructions about death and dying dating as far back as the 15th century with the Ars Moriendi (Art of Dying). We also find other publications on death and dying in the 1600’s that were written with the aim of ensuring that if death occurred unexpectedly then you would always be prepared.