Members of the Supportive Palliative Care Unit at Richmond Hospital. Top row: Ricki Avitan and Lara Musa Bottom row: Ian Tan, Kristine Lazaro, Manju Joseph and Dr. Amrish Joshi
For Lara Musa, a registered nurse and the Patient Care Coordinator and Educator for the Supportive Palliative Care Unit at Richmond Hospital, there's no better place to do research. “We are always encouraged to be curious and ask questions about how we can improve the care we're providing."
Lara and her team are hoping to increase awareness among health care practitioners and the public about the impact of palliative care. The Palliative Care Team, led by Dr. Amrish Joshi, recently received a VCHRI Team Grant to study how to improve conversations about advance care planning within the South Asian community.
“My team and I all feel passionate about palliative care and we strive to provide the best possible care for our patients and their families, especially during such a delicate part of their health care journey."
Lara notes her own attraction to research stemmed from the opportunity it provides to explore the issues that come up in her day-to-day practice.
“My foray into nursing research started with my perceived inability to provide my patients with a good death because of symptoms that cause agitation and distress during their final days," says Lara. “This pushed me to ask questions and apply for my first VCHRI Research Challenge, which then built the foundation for my Master's thesis and my second Research Challenge application."
Lara believes that research is a crucial part of improving and advancing health care. The research experience offers opportunities to health care providers to gather evidence needed to implement practice changes.
She also finds that a culture of research promotes learning and open-mindedness. The improved knowledge gained from research can be shared with other clinicians to help ensure patients, and their families, receive the best possible care.
“Juggling clinical duties with research efforts is a big commitment," says Lara. “But at the end of the day I get to collaborate with such an amazing team and it's so rewarding to see our work in action."
Lara knows that research might seem daunting to point-of-care clinicians, but she encourages everyone to stay curious on the job. “What most health care providers don't realize is that we're already informally engaging with research in our everyday practice – whether it's learning from the expertise of more senior colleagues or reflecting on our own experiences."
Keep an eye out for Lara and the Palliative Care Team featured on new Research Champions posters around Richmond Hospital, and learn more about how you can get involved in research with help from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.