A second cohort of students has begun this innovative course that aims to develop future leaders in palliative care. Heather Graham and Gerrit Frerich, European Palliative Care Academy Coordinating Office, and Jonathan Koffman, Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London, explain.
At the beginning of February 2016, the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London welcomed the 19 participants of the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA) – Leadership Course 2015-17 for the second course week of our new course. Participants travelled from their home countries all across Europe to take part in the exciting week of teaching and experience exchange.
The central topic of the second course week, which was held by Dr Jonathan Koffman, Dr Catherine Evans, Professor Irene Higginson and Dr Richard Harding, among others, focused on research. The topic is important because the knowledge and confidence gained from using a research-based approach enable participants to build up their leadership competencies, as well as being of central importance for the advancement of palliative care across Europe. The experts in London covered many interesting facets of research, such as how to plan and conduct a study, including study designs and quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, as well as ethical issues in palliative care research. Moreover, the participants were instructed in how to critically appraise research papers and how to write scientific abstracts that can be directly applied to their personal projects, which are conducted longitudinally throughout the entire course. To introduce participants to people working in palliative care research and to encourage experience exchange, a speed-dating session was set up where participants gained an insight into diverse projects and the opportunity to discuss their practical research questions. A very welcome guest, Professor Sheila Payne, former president of the EAPC and a member of the EUPCA advisory board, taught participants about consensus approaches to research in palliative care.
As is the case in each of the four course weeks, which make up the EUPCA Leadership Course, participants are shown around a palliative care institute of the country they are visiting. As part of this ‘Local Best Practice’ module in London, the participants visited St Christopher’s Hospice, widely regarded as the first modern hospice. The importance of this institution and what it means in the history of palliative care was much appreciated by participants who described it as:
“Very moving! It was great to have the possibility to be in the hospice set up by Cicely Saunders!”
Lyn Silove, a palliative care professional working in Paris and a current EUPCA participant, was impressed by St Christopher’s special focus on memory and symbolism. She hopes to take this inspiration and apply it to her work back home.
“It’s made me more mindful of the importance of leaving a trace, a memory.”
Overall, the participants were very positive about their experiences in London.
“I am really happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of this great week. Thank you so much!”
The next course week will take place in Gdansk, Poland; until that time participants will be busy conducting their personal projects in their home countries and carrying out their observation week at a European palliative care institution of their choice.
More about the European Palliative Care Academy
The European Palliative Care Academy is a joint project of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Germany, and four academic centres:
- University Hospital of Cologne/ Germany
- Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz/ Poland
- Hospice Casa Sperantei, Brasov/ Romania
- King’s College London, Cicely Saunders Institute/ United Kingdom.
These centres have jointly developed a curriculum that is offered to emerging palliative care leaders of all professional backgrounds from across Europe.
- European Palliative Care Academy website.
- Training tomorrow’s leaders in palliative care is critical by Gerrit Frerich and Raymond Voltz is published in the March/April 2016 issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care (vol. 23.2). You can download this article free of charge from the EAPC website.
- More posts about the first EUPCA Leadership course 2013/2015 on the EAPC Blog.