This 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 Irene Murphy, Director of Bereavement & Family Support Services, Marymount University Hospice in Cork, Ireland.
My interest in palliative care goes back many years to a time when I was involved in the practice of palliative care but I didn’t know it! I had just completed my professional qualification in social work in Trinity College, Dublin, and took up a post in a major Dublin maternity hospital with a very busy neo-natal unit/ICU. The multidisciplinary team worked together with families, in situations when end-of-life care was needed for newborn babies or where there was a pre-natal diagnosis of a life-limiting condition. We supported parents and siblings in an end-of-life situation in a holistic, empathic way. It was my first experience and appreciation of the importance of good end-of-life care. At this time, I also completed a Masters degree in social research in University College, Dublin, with the focus of my thesis on volunteering.
After this post, I moved to the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, as Head of the Social Work Service. The gynaecological oncology service there was my first experience of work with adult patients who had life-threatening illness. From there, I went to work in Marymount University Hospice in Cork. This was an exciting time as the palliative care service in Cork, and in Ireland generally, was expanding. As Director of Bereavement & Family Support Services I have been responsible for developing programmes for families dealing with life- threatening illness. These have included individual support, family meetings and post-bereavement support groups for adults and children. I have been actively involved in the provision of education on palliative care in the community and at postgraduate level.
As a practising social worker, I am committed to establishing excellence in palliative care through practice, research and education. I am chair and a founder member of the national Hospice & Palliative Care Social Workers group. We promote the highest standards of professional practice through the sharing of knowledge and expertise, provision of training and contribution to national policy and practice issues. I am a member of the Examinations Board of the Masters in Bereavement Programme and the Children and Loss programme of the Irish Hospice Foundation/Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.
I was elected to the Board of the EAPC in 2011 and am honoured to be nominated by the Irish Association for Palliative Care (IAPC) for re-election in Copenhagen, 2015. I am currently a member of the social media team of the EAPC, working with colleagues to promote the activities of EAPC, to disseminate information on palliative care and to advocate for the development of palliative care. Having teenagers in the house is very useful when it comes to using social media, particularly Twitter! I am co-chair of the EAPC Task Force on Bereavement Care, which has just completed a survey of bereavement care in palliative care in Europe. Work has begun on the development of Bereavement Care Standards for palliative care in Europe.
I hope that my continued membership of the board will provide continuity and practical expertise to enable the new board to meet the challenge of promoting palliative care across all disciplines and regions within Europe.
More about the EAPC Board elections…
EAPC Board elections take place on Saturday 9 May from 10.00 am until 3.00 pm in room 171 of the Congress Center. If you are a member of the EAPC and eligible to vote please do go along and place your vote. Members can find more information on voting procedures and all the candidates standing for election on the EAPC website. (Members will need to login to access these pages).
We are also publishing candidates’ posts on the EAPC Blog in the run-up to the elections. Click here to read previous posts from other candidates.
EAPC Congress update…
If you’re joining us at the14th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care – Copenhagen, Denmark, 8-10 May, you can now download the final programme and the book of abstracts.
Irene Murphy will be talking about ‘Bereavement Services in Palliative Care in Europe: A Survey Study by the EAPC Bereavement Task Force’ at 11.00-11.15 on Saturday 9 May in room A3 of the Congress Center.
Follow all the Congress events on Twitter @EAPCOnlus the official Congress hashtag is #eapc2015