Nursing student’s passion for palliative care

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Nursing student’s passion for palliative care

For many undergraduate nursing students, palliative and end-of-life care is an area of study that students tend to shy away from. For 20 year old nursing student, Cassidy Wilson, her dedication and desire for helping people and their families at the end of life has just begun.

“The passion I have for nursing is unexplainable. When I’m not studying, I am working between my four jobs. I work at Westmead hospital, two different nursing homes and in-home care.

“Palliative care seems to be a dull subject, but I think it’s an amazing area to work in,” Ms Wilson said.

While completing her studies at the Western Sydney Institute, Cassidy highlights the need for universities to invest more time in educating nursing students about palliative care in order for them to be better equipped with the skills and knowledge to help people at the end of life.

“I think there should be more of an emphasis put on palliative care for nursing students. As I am personally interested in this area, I do my own research as it is not spoken about at university as much as it should be,” Ms Wilson said.

Cassidy has already gained a deeper knowledge of palliative and end of life care through her diverse work experiences and school placements. From this, Cassidy emphasises how working in oncology and palliative care is a challenging yet very rewarding career.

“I have experienced so many amazing moments in the past four years that I have been nursing. The most rewarding experience was last month when I was placed on the oncology and palliative care ward at Westmead hospital.

“I was surrounded by very ill patients who were in their last few hours of life, some of which weren’t much older than me. It was so difficult and at times I would find myself with a lump in my throat and holding my tears back. This to me was ‘real’ nursing.

“I cried with my patients and laughed with them and I washed bodies after death but most of all, I ensured that their last days were comfortable and pain free,” Ms Wilson said.

When thinking about the future, Cassidy hopes to continue to build her career in palliative care with the aim to ensure people and families are supported with the best possible care at the end of life.

“I have definitely found my calling from this experience and it is something I want to continue working in. I hope to one day become a Clinical Nurse Specialist in oncology and palliative care.

Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates

Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U) promotes the inclusion of palliative care education as an integral part of all medical, nursing, and allied health undergraduate and entry to practice training, and ongoing professional development.

Undergraduates who are looking to upskill their knowledge in palliative care can access PCC4U’s learning resources which aim to develop capacity in the health care workforce, providing care for people with life-limiting conditions. 

Within each module or topic, you experience the story of someone facing a life-limiting condition. These stories will help you understand why palliative care is a vital part of the health care industry. For more information or to complete the modules, click here.