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

Claudia has nursed for 22 years and worked in palliative care for 19 of these in either a clinical, academic or policy focused role. She is currently a Senior Lecturer for the Faculty of Health at the University of Technology Sydney. Prior to this, she led a team at Palliative Care Australia to run the National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP). Clinically, Claudia has worked in large metropolitan tertiary centres (both in Australia and England) and in an Australian rural setting, mostly in Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultancy roles.

Claudia has completed an Honours degree (Nursing), Masters degree and is currently a Phd Candidate with her research focusing on palliative care within the hospital setting. She has completed prior research looking at education models supporting the integration of Palliative Care knowledge into Residential Aged Care Facilities; looking at adult and paediatric palliative care in both practice and philosophy; and nurse competence and how to measure this against variable training settings.

Claudia has also led significant project work including the Rural Palliative Care Project, Aged Care Access Initiative, Aged Care Panel work and supported many other projects through collaborative partnerships. Claudia is passionate about Palliative Care and how such an approach to care enhances the quality of life of those with serious and progressive illness.

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, (also known as Elizabeth), is currently undertaking a full-time PhD at Federation University Australia, Gippsland campus, under the supervision of Associate Professor Joanne Porter and Dr Michael Barbagallo. Her current research is examining 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 palliative care unit. Two publications relating to the examination of the background literature have been published. These works were presented at the recent 2021 Oceanic Palliative Care conference (21OPCC).

Libby completed her nursing (honours) degree in 2019 receiving an H1 distinction for 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 have been published from the findings of this research project.

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 through an honours research project.  For 18 months during her studies, Libby also provided personal and nursing care to residents living in Dalkeith Hostel, Traralgon, a 54 bed residential aged care facility. As a registered nurse at Latrobe Regional Hospital, Libby gained medical, palliative, surgical and hospital in the home clinical experience.

Before returning to study, Libby worked as a first aid officer and administrator for 10 years in a large regional private school in Gippsland.

Rebecca Palmer, Committee Member

Rebecca has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years and has been working in the area of Supportive & Palliative Care for the past 23 years. She has provided specialist palliative care in the hospital and hospice settings, and to Disability and Residential Aged Care Facilities but her passion is supporting people in the community to be able to die at home or to be at home for as long as possible.

Rebecca completed her Masters in Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) through Sydney University in December 2020. As a Nurse Practitioner for the Supportive and Palliative Care service her aim is to increase the access to specialist palliative care services in the rural and remote areas of the Local Health District that she works in, and this has included the implementation of a nurse-led clinic which incorporates a “MyVirtualCare” link to the consultant at the specialist centre.

Rebecca is very excited to be a part of this committee and PCNA!

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 Specialist 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

Coming soon.