St Catherine’s Hospice and the University of Central Lancashire are celebrating a successful first year of working together to raise standards and improve access to high quality palliative care in the region.
The partnership was set up last year following a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage greater collaboration between St Catherine’s staff, and students, researchers and lecturers at the university.
Already the partnership has enabled 50 paramedic students to take part in specialist End of Life Care training at St Catherine’s, and provided work experience and subsequently employment for nursing students. On the back of this, the hospice is looking to expand this offer into other areas such as medicine, pharmacy and business studies.
Georgia Oliphant spent three months at the hospice on placement as a student nurse before applying for a staff nurse post as she enjoyed her training so much.
The 24-year-old, from Penwortham, said: “I was really interested in palliative care and was keen to learn on the job, so it was the perfect balance of working and studying.
“The inpatient team is amazing; they’re very encouraging and nurturing, and I love the environment. You have time to get to know patients and families, and it’s very rewarding to provide such holistic, personalised care.
“I feel really fortunate to have trained with St Catherine’s. I’ve also developed communication skills and gained the confidence to have sensitive conversations with patients and their families.”
The collaboration has led to St Catherine’s and the university’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing running Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses on End of Life and Palliative Care for practitioners to continue developing their skills.
Away from health courses, MBA (Masters of Business Administration) students are also benefitting from the partnership by working on a live digital marketing project for the hospice.
Central Lancashire Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Dr Lynne Livesey said: “The first year of our partnership has been a great success. It’s allowing our students to gain vital work experience and develop their employability skills, as well as bringing new ideas and research into St Catherine’s. Together we are making a big difference to the lives of the local people that we serve.”
Lynn Kelly, Director of Knowledge Exchange Services at St Catherine’s, added: “The partnership enables us to share best practice and teach students about the importance of treating and caring for the individual; taking time to understand and respect each patient’s personal end-of-life wishes with regards to their care plans; where they would prefer to spend their final days; and how they hope to be remembered.
“It’s also about encouraging internships and volunteering; working together on research projects; and submitting joint funding bids for new initiatives, all with the aim of helping people to have quality of life to the end of life.
“Future plans include developing creative ideas with the university’s school of medicine such as a new physician associate role that will combine specialist medical and nursing expertise.
“We are also looking at new and exciting ways to help people to have mutual support at the end of life in similar ways to those that parents and babies at the beginning of life find so supportive.”