Above photo: Shirley Chan, a Home Care Nurse in Richmond, is thankful to the Kronier Fund for the opportunity to further her education.
As a Home Care Nurse, Shirley Chan visits patients in our community to help support them to stay at home safely. From wound and IV care, to medication management and palliative care, Shirley has spent many years developing her practice so she can provide the very best care to those who need.
Recently Shirley, whose background is in surgical care, attended the Psychosocial Care of the Dying and Bereaved course put on by Victoria Hospice thanks to the Kronier Education Fund to help build her skills and comfort when working with patients with serious illness.
“Palliative is quite a big area in our practice, but I can also be very abstract," says Shirley. “You can help manage the symptoms, but often times it's the psychosocial part of being in palliative care that can sometimes be more challenging to manage."
As palliative care focuses on a commitment to the whole-person centered care, supporting patients through the mental and psychological components of living with a severe illness is just as important as treating physician symptoms and pain. While it can sometimes be a difficult conversation, Shirley says the course gave her the tools and confidence to better help her patients.
“I used to always think that I had to come prepared with a solution to help my patients manage their psychosocial pain and discomfort," she says. “Taking the course helped me overcome this fear and taught me the value of just listening to my patients."
Through sharing of personal stories, role playing, and many varied sessions, Shirley says the course highlights how the psychosocial aspect of palliative care is specific and different for each patient, and sometimes the best way we can help support them is through respect and understanding.
“Sometimes all they need is for someone to listen," she says.
Every year, the Kronier Education Fund supports staff learning and education aimed at strengthening clinical practice and improving patient care. The Fund also scholarships and bursaries for post-secondary Certification, Diploma, Bachelor, Master or Doctorate degree all staff and physicians within the Richmond Community of Care.
Funds to strengthen clinical practice are granted throughout the year to all staff, leaders and physicians within Richmond who wish to attend a conference, workshop or course. Bursaries for post-secondary studies are awarded once-yearly.
For Shirley, the opportunity to attend specialized training and education has been an invaluable experience—one she'd recommend her co-workers to consider.
“The confidence you gain after a week-long course makes such a difference and I've been able to bring that confidence going into these difficult conversations with my patients," she says. “I'm happy I've been able to apply what I've learned to my practice to better support my patients."