This new series introduces candidates for the European Association for Palliative Care Board of Directors who will be standing for election (or in some cases re-election) in May 2015. We hope the blog posts provide an opportunity for candidates to explain more about themselves and how they might contribute to the EAPC and the palliative care community more generally. Board members are nominated by national associations or, in a few cases, by individual members. They are elected as individuals to service the EAPC for a four-year term, with one additional opportunity to be re-elected. The EAPC is keen to have Board members from all disciplines, at all stages of their career, and from all parts of Europe.
The series continues today with Dr Catherine Walshe, Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care and Director of the International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK.
It was nearly 20 years ago, but I still carry with me the memory of being with one of my patients at the moment of her death, at home, surrounded by her family. I had nursed her for a year or more before she died, and had reflected often in that time on my approach to palliative care because of her inspirational attitude to managing life and her impending death. I wanted to understand how to ensure all my patients were enabled to have the same quality of life and death. That essentially is still at the core of what I aim to do today. Allocated to a haematology ward as a newly qualified nurse, I had been drawn not to the high tech environment but to the human aspects of caring for the dying, an interest I carried through to work with those with HIV/AIDs, as a district nurse and then the community palliative care nurse role where I met that memorable patient.
What I would hope to contribute to the EAPC if elected
In terms of geography, jobs, experiences and grey hair I have come a long way since then, but the desire to understand and make a difference is fundamentally what drives me still in my work in palliative care. My passion is to create and use robust evidence to improve care, and I enable this in a number of different ways as a researcher, teacher and journal editor. I’m particularly interested in the way that we communicate with and influence palliative care practice and practitioners, and have worked to facilitate this through my own writing and presenting, through continued development of the EAPC international peer reviewed research journal Palliative Medicine, and engagement in social media (personally @cewalshe, institutionally @ioelc and as editor @palliativemedj). I’ve worked nationally to promote palliative care research through past involvement in the UK Palliative Care Research Society and the PRiMa alliance, and to facilitate improved research dissemination through writing workshops and presentations. If elected I hope that I can bring this energy and experience to develop and promote palliative care in Europe, with a particular focus on the importance of research.
I currently work as Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care and Director of the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University, UK. I’m engaged in research exploring issues of how palliative care is provided and how to address symptoms at the end of life, and teach on our PhD programme in palliative care. When not working I’m kept busy with four children, a dog and trying to become a slightly faster runner. As a volunteer trustee of my local hospice I’ve set myself the challenge of running the London Marathon this year for Hospice UK, but may well run the slowest marathon on record.
Coming up on the EAPC blog…
Every week in the run-up to the elections, we shall be publishing more posts from our candidates. Click here to read the first two in the series.
Are you coming to Copenhagen?
See you at the 14th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care – Copenhagen, Denmark, 8-10 May, 2015. In Parallel Session 20: Building bridges between countries: Reporting research to have international resonance, Dr Catherine Walshe will be giving ‘The Editor’s Perspective’. Other contributors to this session are Dr Joachim Cohen on ‘The Research Perspective’ and Dr James Cleary on ‘The Reviewers’ Perspective’. Follow us on Twitter @EAPCOnlus – our official congress hashtag is #eapc2015