Get inspired… EAPC Early Researcher Award helped to shape my career

Dr Catherine Walshe, Editor in Chief, Palliative Medicine and Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Manchester, explains how winning the EAPC Early Researcher Award (formerly the Young Investigator’s Award) has impacted on her career in palliative care.

Catherine Walshe

Dr Catherine Walshe

‘Young investigator’s award? That can’t be for me’. The suggestion I be nominated came as rather a surprise. Having moved into a research-focused career after a long time working clinically in the palliative care field I certainly failed to classify myself as ‘young’. Thankfully the EAPC has re-named the award ‘Early Researcher Award’ to clarify that those a little ‘longer in the tooth’, but who are early in their research careers, are eligible. It was a real honour to be awarded second prize in the inaugural award in 2009, from an extremely strong field of researchers.

How did I feel about receiving the award?
Of course any award is pleasing, and external recognition of research endeavour is rare. As researchers we are rather more used to rejection of our proposals and papers. I was clearly delighted therefore to be recognised in this way. I am sure it enabled me to feel more confident in my emerging research skills. Perhaps the real contribution of the award is in highlighting the research you are and have been engaged in to others and bringing it to the attention of a wider European audience. Certainly engaging in conversations with researchers and clinicians triggered by the award about my research was incredibly valuable, and enabled me to be aware of wider perspectives outside the UK, and how my work might inform and be informed by these.

Did the award affect my career?
I guess that is hard to tell. At the time of the award I had recently completed research examining the influences on referrals within community palliative care services. I have continued this research focus on primary palliative care with a programme of research investigating the role of district (community) nurses in providing generalist palliative care, and recent work investigating how patients cope well with having advanced cancer.

I am also still involved in palliative care research more widely, for example through my involvement in the executive committee of the UK’s Palliative Care Research Society. One of the highlights of my career since the award is becoming Editor in Chief of the journal ‘Palliative Medicine’, the research journal of the EAPC. It is an honour to be working with the editorial team and continuing my association with the EAPC. We strive to work closely together to promote the highest quality of research and research reporting in the palliative care field. My passion is to ensure that the research we conduct in this field is robustly conducted, clinically relevant, and makes a useful contribution to palliative care practice, patient experience, research, theory or policy. If the EAPC award has gone some way to allowing me to enable that aim, then I suspect it is achieving its objectives.

To find out more…

  • Click here for details of the 2013 Early Researcher Award
  • Submit your application online by 5pm, 30 November, 2012
  • Click here to read reports from this year’s ERA winners.

In the coming weeks we’ll be publishing more posts from former winners of the Early Researcher. Get inspired, get involved – The EAPC is looking forward to your nomination! 

Coming up in the European Journal of Palliative Care
You can read this article, together with contributions from other former award winners of the EAPC Early Research Award, in a future issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care. If you already have a web-based subscription to the EJPC you will be able to download and print this issue plus all articles in the EJPC archive.

Members of the EAPC receive discounted subscription rates to the EJPC – click here  to find out more and subscribe online.


This entry was posted in EAPC Researcher Awards, EAPC World Congresses and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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