Following the publication of the recent report, ‘Palliative Care – Celebrating Nurses’ Contributions’ last week, we would like to highlight the work of Sister Dona Samindra Ranasinghe, from Sri Lanka who has pioneered service development in her country.
Samindra is a Nursing Officer working at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Sri Lanka. She has been working in palliative care since 2014 and undertook her training in palliative care at Pallium India in Kerala.
When she started working at the NCI in 2012 palliative care was not known in Sri Lanka. However, after she had received training she realised what a big difference she could make as a palliative care nurse. This was emphasised as she undertook a training-of-trainers course through Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN).
She then focused on palliative care and organised several awareness programmes in her institute for all health professionals, and participated as a resource person for palliative care programmes from other hospitals and organisations. Initially they established a clinic in the hospital and following this they established a palliative care unit. At first, Samindra was working in the palliative care clinic, but gradually the team has grown so that there are now four doctors, four permanent nurses, six volunteer nurses, one social worker, and a medical orderly. With the help of donations, they have managed to equip the palliative care unit. Samindra is committed to providing quality palliative care services in her hospital and to increase understanding and recognition of palliative care in Sri Lanka.
“Nurses care for and support patients and families during one of life’s most difficult journeys, helping patients to understand their conditions and educating their caregivers about management of problems and symptoms that may arise. They are a cornerstone of palliative care.”
(Liliana De Lima MHA, Executive Director International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC))