Top awards for Hospice nurses


LUCY McGettigan, Clinical Nurse Manager at Donegal Hospice stated ‘It is With great pride that we congratulate our two staff nurses Susan McCarroll and Liam Patton on their recent award at University College Dublin.

Not only were they awarded a graduate diploma in palliative care nursing they were also awarded the Sr Francis Rose O’Flynn OHL medal for acquiring the top academic marks in the country.

“Singularly to achieve this award is remarkable but for both to achieve it from the same unit is outstanding and as their mentor and line manager I can speak on behalf of all the management and staff at the Hospice to say we are very proud indeed,” she said.


The course was a Level 9 graduate diploma in palliative care in UCD in affiliation with our lady’s hospice Harold’s cross. The Sr Francis Rose O’Flynn OLH Medal is awarded to the graduate with the highest grades
overall in the palliative care modules. This year was the first time it was a joint award.  The course required them to attend college in Dublin one day per week for the academic year and in their own time to secure
placements in various work areas, to add to their experience. This is not an easy task while continuing to work full time and both having young families. The graduates now have a specialist palliative care qualification
which makes it extremely relevant for practice in the Donegal Hospice which is a specialist palliative care unit.

Liam’s stated It’s a great privilege to work in palliative care and I have always had a special interest in palliative care nursing. Therefore it was right to further my studies in this area .The course was intense but
extremely rewarding with great support from my wife and family, my mentor Lucy McGettigan,  my workplace and Dr Donal Martin’s support and of course the college itself all which made it more manageable. I feel
humbled to receive this medal for my academic efforts. My challenge now as a nurse is to contribute to providing excellent standards of palliative care by putting what I have learned into practice’.

Susan’s remarked ‘I have worked in the Donegal hospice for almost eleven Years. I am passionate about palliative care and cannot imagine working in any other area of nursing.  The organisation and support from
the college and tutors was amazing. As well as gaining new knowledge and insights, it was great to see that our work practices at the Donegal Hospice are very much on a par with other specialist palliative care units
throughout the country. It was very educational carrying out placements in Sligo hospice and our lady’s hospice in Harold’s cross in Dublin.  Personally I could not have done any of this without the support my
family, friends, Lucy McGettigan and my colleagues at the hospice. That I received the Sr Francis Rose O’Flynn medal for academic achievement jointly with my colleague Liam was an honour and the icing on the
cake. Completion of this course has affirmed my passion for my chosen area of nursing and has provided me with increased knowledge and confidence in carrying out this very privileged role.

Dr Donal Martin, Medical Director at the Hospice stated ‘‘We are indeed very proud of our two staff who achieved this academic success. The fact that this is the first time ever that two staff from one unit were awarded
jointly makes their achievement even more remarkable. I am delighted to support these staff in their education and hopefully support other staff who may now decide to apply to undertake further education’

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