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One of our McLarty Scholarship recipients, Marion Russell recently completed her Graduate Certificate in Bereavement Counselling and Intervention at the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement. 

We have an ongoing commitment to improving palliative care practice throughout WA. Thanks to a generous bequest from the McLarty family, we are able to provide post graduate study scholarships for nurses and allied health staff.

Marion was drawn to Palliative care after caring for her sister, and hearing stories of those she assisted throughout their palliative care journey, and the positive impact it had. After completing her studies, Marion feels confident in discussing the grief and bereavement process and acknowledges the unique nature of this process for each individual/family.

Read the full interview with Marion below.


Why are you so passionate about Palliative Care?

I cared for my sister through her palliative care journey, after this experience I completed some volunteer work in the Palliative Care Unit at Bethesda. When a position became available on the PCU, I was interviewed and fortunately they recognised I had some skills that could be integrated into the model of care they had on the unit. 

My passion for palliative care comes from being in a privileged position to hear peoples’ stories, assisting them through their palliative care journey.

Hearing patients identify what would make a difference if it was ‘out of the head and onto paper’ i.e., Enduring Power of Attorney, writing up a Will or funeral planning.


After completing legal and practical matters I quite often hear patients and families comment ‘now it’s time to relax and enjoy the remaining time’ without the ‘to do’ list replaying in their heads.

What do you find most rewarding about working in Palliative Care?

Working in collaboration with a committed interdisciplinary team who go above and beyond to make every patient and family member feel welcome and offer support, be it medical or psychosocial support. There is no ‘separate silo’ business occurring in palliative care between staff. We care for the six domains of the patient, physical, emotional, cognitive, behaviour, spiritual and social wellbeing.


What was the postgraduate study that the McClarty Palliative Care Scholarship supported you with?

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement -Graduate Certificate in Bereavement Counselling and Intervention.  


What prompted you to apply for this Scholarship?

Bethesda are continuously trying to improve services to their patients and families. This includes medical needs as well as psychosocial needs.

In addition, I felt it was time to update my professional knowledge and skills with up-to-date research in grief and bereavement.

I now feel that I can confidently discuss the grief and bereavement process, that is quite unique to each individual patient/ family member. If necessary, then refer to an appropriate service.


How does your experience of your study contribute to the Palliative Care community?

Provide updated theories of grief and bereavement to patients and their families during the stay at the Palliative Care Unit.

Ensuring each family have appropriate information to assist them through their grief journey, this may include explaining the oscillating process between loss and restoration in grief, appropriate referrals to General Practitioner or other agencies for more in-depth grief and bereavement, if complex grieving is identified.

Sharing new grief and bereavement information with staff, student nurses and other social work colleagues when receiving phone referrals from other agencies.

Awareness of other agencies for ongoing support ie. Cancer Council, Solaris Care living with loss five-week group.

Compiled a power point presentation to use on Pilbara Palliative Care trip last year, included in email.  


If you could offer one piece of advice to others wanting to pursue a career in Palliative Care, what would it be? 

Embrace the opportunity if it is offered, palliative care is an amazing evidence-based practice involving many opportunities for new learning. 


Scholarship applications open 20 June 2022 and close 5:00pm 11 July 2022.


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