Nurses play a significant role in palliative care team. By providing expert management of pain and other symptoms combined with compassionate listening and counselling skills, a palliative care nurse promotes the highest quality of life for the patient and family.
In Bangladesh, palliative care service is developing and people are accepting it gradually. There are only six organisations or institutions workinng in palliative care, all in the capital city of Dhaka. Palliative Care Nurse is a relatively new role in our health sector. But people who are working in this sector receive significantly less attention.
Palliative care nurses, especially those working in home care, do not get the recognition they deserve in the community. This type of negligence can affect their motivation for their work.
Last year, Aastha Hospice (a charity project of Hospice Bangladesh) with support of Hospice Bangladesh, initiated a Nurse Award event in the name of: ‘Farida Khanam Palliative Care Nurse Award’ to acknowledge their great contribution. At that time four nurses were awarded for their outstanding contribution in palliative care.
Following this, in 2018 the nomination of this award has been extended by involving more institutional and organisational nurses to participate. Moreover, we are trying to involve community engagement in this award, we invited the public to name the award categories in memory of a loved one.
The response from participants was great. A good number of participants applied for award nomination. Nurses were delighted while submitting their nomination form in person.
This year, National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital (NICRH) joined with Aastha Hospice to organize the award event. Hospice Bangladesh and World Child Cancer (WCC) supported the event.
The program was held on 28 June, 2018 at NICRH auditorium. Prof Dr Moarraf Hossain, Director of NICRH was the Chief Guest of the program. Prof Dr Mofizul Islam, Head of radiotherapy, NICRH; Dr Shahinur Kabir, Founder of Hospice Bangladesh; Dr Rifat Akhter PhD, Chairman of Aastha Hospice; Dr Megan Doherty, World Child Cancer; Mrs Salma Chowdhury, Founder Chairman of ASHIC Foundation and large number of attendants were also present.
Ten nurses were awarded in different categories for recognition of their exemplary and great contribution and devotion in palliative care. Each winner received award money along with crest and certificate.
The awardees in each category are:
- Mojib Rahman Palliative Care Institutional Nurse Award – Mosammat Maksuda Akhter, National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, Mohakhali, Dhaka and Narghis Akther from Delta Medical College & Hospital
- Abdul Ali Bhuiyan Palliative Care Institutional Nurse Award – Mst. Shohana Khanam Itee, Dhaka Shishu Hospital, and Shova Ahmed from ASHIC Foundation, Dhaka
- Alfaz Hossain Palliative Care Institutional Nurse Award – Monju Ara Begum from Dhaka Medical College and Hospital
- Jubidur Kabir Palliative Care Male Nurse Award – Mohammad Younus Miah from National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, Mohakhali, Dhaka
- Farida Khanam Palliative Home Care Nurse Award – Ritu Halder and Mana Gharamee from Hospice Bangladesh were awarded
- Farida Khanam Palliative Home Care Nursing Aid Award – Abdul Alim and Ruma Akter from Hospice Bangladesh.
Award winners expressed their gratitude and happiness with the audience.
The aim of this award event is to inspire nurses to work more with enthusiasm in palliative care. It is not just an award, it’s an honour for them.
Nurses are integral part of palliative care team. They deserve the greatest respect for bringing palliative care, especially home care, to people who need it, as well as increasing society’s acceptance of it.
Now is the time to empower palliative care nurses. It will enable them to broaden their scope of practice, striving to work more with sincerity the patients and families they care for.