Guest Post – Rishika Iyer 5th Year Medical Student – Addressing the empathy in the room: a poem

Of the words most used in medical school,
Empathy is number one.
Em-pa-thy, they recite from the dictionary. Diligently, we write it down.
From the German, einfühlung, or ‘in feeling’, noun:
‘the ability to understand another person’s feelings, experience, and so on’

And I wonder,
Why they fail to teach us of the Germans,
Who felt the need to combine ein with fühlung and give it meaning.
What 19th century experiences must have underpinned such a decision?
I wonder,
Who are these people that sense deeply, perceive freely?
Where can I find a dictionary of their stories?

Because in the end,
A ‘so on’ isn’t something we can rote learn.
It gathers cobwebs inside a brain that is unable to sit still.
Between tutorials and theatre lists and post-acute Ward rounds,
We forget that true empathy surpasses what we write down.

So I thank you,
From the bottom of a heart that’s still growing,
For bringing life to a phrase that German scholars gave meaning.
Once elusive, empathy runs through the very veins of this establishment,
And I create my own dictionary of stories that exemplify this.

Rishika joined our hospice team for the past five weeks. She generously wrote this poem reflecting on what she had learned during her time with us. Thank you Rishika, we look forward to reading more of your writing in the future.

I think therefore I am? – Can social media help palliative care?

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Hi folks,

You might have already come across Hospice Nurse Julie on TikTok.

In her short videos she explains things that we commonly see in end of life care.

Julie McFadden’s engaging videos have gone viral. Awesome!

How else could social media help us in terms of palliative care promotion?

How can we use these platforms for good?

How can we extend our reach further?

Who else can we help to extend their reach?

How can we help our friends and colleagues in other less developed places provide palliative care better?

Many of us around the world, myself included, did not feel at all prepared by health care school curricula which continue to lack palliative care education.

Personally, in my spare time, I am working on a freely downloadable “Dummies Guide to Palliative Care” book aimed at newbie health care practitioners. Contents to include: Did you know there are five main symptoms when people are dying? Here’s how to identify them, and treat them…

Please let me know if you are keen to contribute, as doing it by myself might take longer than if I had some helpers.


3rd Australian Palliative Care Research Colloquium

Prof Patsy Yates sharing her reflections on setting up a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in end-of-life care at the PCRNV Breakfast Forum

Prof Patsy Yates sharing her reflections on setting up a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in End of Life Care at the PCRNV Breakfast Forum

For the third year in a row, the Australian Palliative Care Research Colloquium was held at the Rendezvous Grand Hotel in Melbourne on October 22-23. The meeting was once again preceded by a breakfast forum hosted by Palliative Care Research Network Victoria (PCRNV), which served as a tempting entrée to the two-day main course of fantastic presentations and workshops exploring a diverse range of topics pertaining to palliative care research. Conversations about research continued over tea and meal breaks, next to quality poster presentations, and during the convivial conference dinner on the banks of the Yarra.  Continue reading

ANZSPM Update 2015 – Registrations Now Open

I thoroughly recommend this course by ANZSPM in Melbourne 18 -20 June. Aimed at medical practitioners and nurse practitioners, it offers “two full days of state of the art educational updates in areas relevant to practitioners who work in, or have an interest in, Palliative Medicine.”

This is the third medical and surgical update for palliative medicine peeps that has been offered.  I have attended in the past and found it really worthwhile.

There is an associated trainees day and supervisor’s workshop



Centre for Palliative Care – lecture on palliative sedation by A. Prof Jenny Philip

The Centre for Palliative Care in Melbourne runs a series of Hot Topics lectures for the field. They have kindly published videos of their recent talks, which we would like to share with you.

The Palliverse team are going to start a collection of resources in free open access medical and nursing education (#FOAMed and #FOANed) relative to Palliative Care, and here’s the first addition to the collection.

A.Prof Jenny Philip is a wonderful speaker and takes us on a journey through the controversial issue of palliative sedation. Starting with definition (variable) and incidence (also variable), she describes for us some European guidelines on palliative sedation and then guides a panel of experienced palliative care professionals through three cases exploring issues in palliative sedation.