As I’ve rattled on in previous posts, I found my calling a number of years ago, and that that calling is Palliative Care (sometimes called ‘end of life’ care). My life has been characterised by death and dying (with a lot of very happy living in between), and I’ve helped lead the way for friends and family who have died, where I’ve played a role both directly in their presence, as well as in spirit.
I started my tenure as a death ‘midwife’* when I was very young – far too young – but I’ve long yearned to serve in palliative care. The only that had been standing in my way was the distinct lack of education/teaching resources that hadn’t been available in a non-nursing graduate setting.
As it stands, there are now quite a few programs across Australia in palliative care education at a tertiary level, and I’ve been patient in hoping that one day, I’d be able to learn about my passion so I can actually practice it.
Yesterday, I received an offer from La Trobe University in Melbourne for their Graduate Certificate in Health promoting Palliative Care. I screamed, cried, ran around, did a handstand, and proceeded to call my parents and some close friends.**
I’m so proud of myself for a few reasons. It wasn’t a normal university application process. I had to write a personal statement as to why I believed I would be suited to the course. I also needed to find someone who would write a solid support letter. My application letter just got longer and longer, and thanks to my proofreaders (you know who you are), I wrote an outstanding letter. For some support ‘material’, I asked my spiritual mentor Tenzin Chodron from Karuna Hospice to explain to La Trobe why I’d be suited to the program, at which she wrote an edifying and heartfelt letter. I believe Chodron got me through.
Putting yourself out there isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but with some amazing friends and peers telling me to go for it, gave me the courage to apply. I’m the happiest I’ve been in recent memory, as I wasn’t sure whether I would be offered a place because of my lack of a medical background. But as it turns out, La Trobe’s Palliative Care studies program is holistic, in that the course material lends itself to the spiritual side of end of life care, as well as the practicalities of what palliative care involves.
And so, a new journey begins, and I couldn’t be more excited. Stand up for your dreams, people! Allow yourself to be supported and GO FOR IT!
* my name for a PC practitioner 🙂
** screamed some more.