Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care - Hume
The training is targeted at health professionals (all disciplines) who are required to provide palliative care in their work setting. Over the seven years since the Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care was introduced, a total of 160 students have successfully completed the award course. Students have included health professionals from the following disciplines; nursing, medicine, social work, family support worker, occupational therapy, pastoral care, speech therapy, music therapy, art therapy, physiotherapy and hospital chaplaincy.
Academic and Teaching Team
Professor Peter Hudson, Director, Centre for Palliative Care and Professor (Hon), University of Melbourne and Professor (Hon), Vrije University Brussels
Associate Professor Mark Boughey, Centre for Palliative Care and Director, Palliative Medicine St Vincent's (Melbourne)
Ms Karen Quinn, Co-Ordinator Education & Project Officer for Victorian Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Collaborative, Centre for Palliative Care
Mr Chris Hall, Director, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
Dr Jenny Hynson, Consultant Paediatrician, Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program The Royal Children's Hospital
Melissa Heywood, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program The Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne)
Dr Justin Dwyer, Director Psychosocial Cancer Care, St Vincent's (Melbourne)
Dr Danielle Ko, Palliative Care Medicine Specialist and Clinical Ethics Lead Austin Health
Clare Pratt, 27, originally from Ballina on the north coast of New South Wales, moved to Melbourne to study a Master of Nursing Science after stints living in Brisbane and overseas.
“When I finished school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just wanted to get out of my home town and live in the city. So my undergraduate degree was very broad (Bachelor of Science/Arts). After graduating, I was still unsure so I went travelling for a while. When I came back I landed a job in research (after volunteering for a while). The research was in public health and I became very interested in the health professions. While I enjoyed working in research, I decided I wanted a more hands-on type job.
“I decided to study nursing at UoM after a friend who was studying the course recommended it to me. The nursing course here is considered the best in the country and it almost always guarantees a graduate job. We also get to do placements at some of the best hospitals in Melbourne.”
Moving to Melbourne
Clare said the biggest challenge in relocating to Melbourne was moving away from the people she knew:
“Creating a new friend network took time but I got there eventually. There are plenty of places to meet new people if you put yourself out there. The best way to make new friends in a city is to throw yourself into situations e.g. join a club or class to meet likeminded people (there are tons of different clubs at UoM). As a young person, hospitality jobs are really great places to meet people. Also housemates can be a great new source of friendships. My best mates in Melbourne are my housemates.
“It sounds like a cliché but in Melbourne there is always something on. Free festivals like the St Kilda Festival are a lot of fun. There is also a lot of art in Melbourne; in galleries, on the streets or people might be wearing it. Melbourne is a fantastic place to meet people from all over the world and experience different cultures (especially the food!). All of these things make Melbourne a really enjoyable and interesting place to be.”
As well as the quality of teaching at the University, its proximity to hospitals is a huge plus for Clare:
“It's a particularly good location for health students as it is located right near four major metropolitan hospitals: the Royal Children’s Hopsital, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Royal Women’s. This means as students we get access to placements at these hospitals. We also perform research projects at these hospitals as part of our degree.
“My experience of the teaching staff at Melbourne has been positive. They are very knowledgeable in their field (often having done or are undergoing PhD studies of their own) and very enthusiastic about teaching. All my lecturers are very approachable.
“The best thing about studying at UoM are the other people in my cohort. We are a fairly tight knit group and are very supportive of each other. The clinical labs are also very cool as we have medical mannequins to practice on.
“The happiest moment I’ve had here was attending our end-of-year event. MUNSS (Melbourne University Nursing Student Society) organised a night out for us all to party at the end of last year. It was great for us all to celebrate making it through our first year of the course. It was a really fun night, we all had a sense of achievement and there was plenty of dancing.”
The job-preparedness of the Master of Nursing Science is of great appeal to Clare:
“I enjoy everything I'm learning in this course. I am glad to be studying a degree that is job focused and so interesting. I've got a lot more learning to do, a career in health means you have to constantly be learning and upgrading your skills.
“I am most proud of how much I have learnt over the past year. I feel like the buddy nurses we work with on placement are always impressed with how much we know as students.”
Career in Health
Challenging work and more study is on the horizon for Clare:
“I'm not sure where I will be in 10 years. My goal is to work for The Royal Flying Doctor Service or Doctors Without Borders. I hope I will have further qualifications, such as midwifery or even a nurse practitioner qualification.”