Nursing lecturer and PhD candidate Melissa Bloomer has won a prestigious scholarship for research on aged care or palliative care.
Based at the School of Nursing and Midwifery’s Peninsula campus, Melissa is completing a PhD on end of life care in the acute hospital setting.
She was one of three academics to be awarded The Australian Legion of Ex-Servicemen and Women Scholarship at a presentation ceremony at the Nurses Memorial Centre in March.
Priority for the scholarship is given to former defence force members or the family of former members. Melissa’s husband Stephen was with the defence force for 21 years.
Her PhD examines how nurses recognise that a patient is dying (rather than acutely sick) and how they respond to the dying patient.
Hospitals are geared towards ‘rescue medicine’ where the goal of treatment is to cure patients, rather than end-of-life care which aims to control symptoms and provide comfort, Melissa explained.
“In my nursing career I often saw patients suffer because clinicians could not agree that the person was dying and that dying was OK.”
“Patients receive inappropriate care aimed at curing them which can result in ongoing suffering and denying them the opportunity for a dignified death,” she said.
She hopes to develop a tool to help nurses recognise that a patient is dying and provide the most appropriate care.
When her PhD is complete Melissa will present a comprehensive report of her findings to the Nurses Memorial Centre.