I recently spent a week at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, England. My objectives were to
(a) learn more about the role of social work in an interprofessional hospice setting,
(b) to better understand how education fit with palliative care practice and
(c) to make connections with my own research interests.
I was prepared to be impressed by the “birthplace of the modern hospice movement” and I must say that my visit far exceeded my expectations. I was not only impressed: I was inspired.
|I knew that Dame Cecily Saunders had an unusual interprofessional training to begin the work that she did. I did not know until I spent time at St. Christopher’s, however, that she conceived of hospice work as being equal parts practice, research and education.|
The current staff of the hospice executes Dr. Cicely Saunders’ vision brilliantly. My clinical visit week was designed specifically to meet my objectives. Much thought went into the meetings that I attended and the staff visits that were arranged for me. Beyond my own visit there is a huge and important education program that St. Christopher’s offers and they have a bursary program to bring students from resource-poor countries in order to include those who could not afford to be there otherwise.
St. Christopher’s has a blog and the library is an immense treasure. It is not due to its size but to its scope and its resources. I always take pleasure in being in a room filled with books. The experience in casting my gaze along the spines of books and seeing that every title is of interest to me because it relates to some aspect of palliative care is indescribable.
All in all, I had an extraordinary week. I am grateful to all who welcomed me and I would encourage everyone to have a look at the St. Christopher’s website to see what educational offerings it has. It might just inspire you too.