Committee

Executive Team

Kate Swetenham, President

Kate Swetenham is the Clinical Lead for the End of Life Care Team in the Department for Health and Wellbeing. Kate is a Registered Nurse with extensive leadership experience in specialist palliative care. Kate was the Clinical Director for Southern Adelaide Palliative Services for 15 years, and in that time supported the triple strand of care approach where education and research inform clinical practice.

Kate is particularly passionate about the psychosocial aspects of illness and suffering and has focused much of her research activities on refractory suffering and the experience of the patient facing an end of life illness. Kate holds a Graduate Diploma in Psycho Oncology a Master of Palliative Care and a Master of Science. She also has academic status with Flinders University and contributes to teaching the communication skills component of the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care.  

Kate has been the beneficiary of 3 international travel scholarships. In 2009 Kate was awarded the Diana Rudd scholarship to attend the Psycho -Oncology conference in Vienna.

In 2012 Kate was awarded the Premier’s Nursing and Midwifery scholarship and travelled to New Zealand, Canada and United Kingdom where she studied rapid response programs for palliative care and Day Hospice Models.

In 2017 Kate was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study End of Life Care Strategies: Barriers and Enablers to Implementation. This fellowship was undertaken in Ireland, Scotland, England, and Canada.

Kate brings her clinical, research and education experience to her work in the Department for Health and Wellbeing and enjoys working at a strategic level to improve the end of life experience for all.

Claudia Virdun, Vice President

Dr Claudia Virdun is an experienced specialist palliative care nurse interested in enabling optimal care for people with advanced serious illness, irrespective of care setting. Claudia’s passion for excellence in palliative care has seen her focus on varied clinical experiences combined with research and improvement work to inform service change. This deep professional experience coupled with emerging research capabilities enables Claudia to take a holistic, practical and critical “end to end” approach to research that is well informed by current issues from clinical and health workforce perspectives, is innovative, relevant and able to “cut through” to drive successful improvements in care delivery.

Claudia completed her doctoral studies in 2021 focused on enabling optimal inpatient palliative care. Her postdoctoral research is focused on how to enable patients with palliative care needs, and their families / carers provide feedback about the quality of care received to facilitate improvement based on what matters most for people nearing the end of their lives. In addition to this research work, Claudia contributes to workforce development as a member of the teaching team for the suite of postgraduate palliative care topics offered at Flinders University.

The combination of workforce skill development and focused clinical improvement work seeks to enable patients and families across Australia to receive optimal and evidence-informed palliative and end-of-life care, wherever they may be located. 

 

Aileen Collier, Secretary

Aileen Collier holds a joint appointment with Flinders University and the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) as an Associate Professor in Aged Care and Palliative Care Nursing.

She has worked as a palliative care nurse for many years in numerous settings and countries. Aileen is passionate about people receiving the best palliative care possible wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. When not at work you’ll find her in the paddock or out on the trail with her horses.

You can learn more about Aileen’s work here .

Katy Long, Treasurer

Katy is a Chartered Management Accountant, and has worked in a variety of industries in the UK and Australia over the last 20 years, most recently as Financial Controller for a professional services firm. Katy has previously volunteered as Treasurer in a not-for-profit organisation, and is excited to be working with Palliative Care Nurses Australia.

Committee Members

Anna Nicholas, Committee Member

Anna has worked for last 21 years in Palliative Care.  In this time, Anna has worked in Clinical, Managerial and Education, although predominantly in NSW and as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in both the Community and the Acute Care Setting.

Since moving to Tasmania, Anna has worked as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care at the Royal Hobart Hospital.  This year she has began a project role to improve end of life care in the acute care setting with a focus to develop a state wide end of life care plan.  Anna has a particular interest in dying in the Acute Care setting and how we can improve this experience for both the patients and their families.

Anna will complete her Master’s Degree in Palliative care through Flinders University this November this year.

Libby Miller, Committee Member

Libby (Elizabeth) completed her PhD at Federation University Australia, Gippsland campus in November 2023. Her research examined environmental factors - the natural, built, social (behaviour and language), and symbolic environments where people may receive bad news about their life-limiting illness within the acute hospital environment. Libby has presented her work at the 21OPCC, PCNA 2022 and EAPC 2023 conferences and has multiple publications disseminating her research. Libby is a Research Fellow at Federation University, Gippsland campus, Victoria and is a casual academic at Flinders University in S.A.

Libby completed her nursing (honours) degree in 2019 with the thesis titled 'The exploration of the role of primary carers who are providing end of life care in the home: A qualitative study of carers in Gippsland, Victoria.' Two articles were published on the findings of this research project. Prior to that, Libby completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 2017 with high distinctions and received the University Medal for outstanding achievement.  During that year, she participated in a 3-week nursing placement at Scheer Memorial Hospital in Benapa, Nepal, igniting a passion to explore carer roles and the hospital environment for people with palliative and end-of-life needs.

Kylie Draper, Committee Member

Kylie Draper is currently employed as the Manager of Nursing and Medical services for Eastern Palliative Care Association Incorporated.

Kylie is a registered nurse who has worked in the palliative care sector for over 30 years. Kylie has worked both in the inpatient setting at Caritas Christi Hospice and in the community setting with Eastern Palliative Care. Kylie has worked in a number of roles including as a senior nurse, clinical nurse consultant and Manager of Nursing and Medical services.

Kylie completed her Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University Melbourne and has completed post-graduate studies in Palliative care at Flinders University, South Australia. Kylie has also more recently completed a Diploma of dementia care at the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Certificate in consumer engagement. Kylie has completed a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Kylie is passionate about palliative care, specifically, nursing leadership and palliative care access and provision for First Nations people.

Sarah Begley, Committee Member

Sarah Begley is Clinical Nurse Educator working at Eastern Palliative Care. She has worked as a community palliative care nurse throughout Australia for over 10 years in locations including Townsville, Cairns and Wagga Wagga NSW. For three years, Sarah worked as a Palliative Care Outreach Nurse in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and successfully supported small rural towns to enable safe and dignified death at home and led a number of educational activities for community nurses, paramedics and general practitioners.

Over the last decade Sarah has travelled to India five times to support and mentor Indian palliative care nurses and doctors through the organisation Australasian Palliative Link Australia (APLI). In 2019/2020 Sarah was the co-ordinator of a nurse-led mission to India, which successfully enabled four nurses to travel to India, multiple times, to support new palliative care nurses in an Indian palliative care unit.

Sarah is currently the Vice President of APLI and on the executive committee. Through APLI, Sarah has led a number of international webinars and online teaching/ mentoring sessions and is currently a Faculty Member of ECHO/Hamrahi palliative Care education program.

Sarah has completed a Masters of Advanced Nursing Practice (Palliative Care) at Melbourne University. 

Jessica Brown, Committee Member

Jessica graduated from Deakin University in 2005 during which time she completed a clinical placement at Bethlehem Hospice and knew that palliative care was a special area that she would ultimately want to specialize in. 

A desire to understand her place within the global health environment led Jessica to complete a Master of Public Health through Monash University in 2009.  Jessica progressed her career and worked extensively as a Clinical Nurse Educator within the acute setting.   A move to country Victoria allowed Jessica to continue her development with the completion of a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from Monash University in 2015.  Jessica then worked in a neurosurgery clinical research role, which further entrenched her love for data, statistics and evidence-based practice. 

Finally, in 2017, the time was right to step into palliative care.  Commencing work at Eastern Palliative Care felt like coming home, and Jessica fell in love with the truly holistic care that working with clients and their carers in the community provided. 

Jessica has since completed the Graduate Diploma of Palliative Care and spent 6 years developing her skills in the community setting. She now works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant at Monash Health and is thankful for the opportunities she has had to influence the direction of palliative care in Australia. 

Kat Hooper, Committee Member

Coming soon!