Nurse practitioner in training Jo Spurge is on a pathway to making an incredibly tough time for patients a little smoother.
Ms Spurge (pictured right) works with terminally ill patients and their families at their most vulnerable and says her new abilities and responsibilities will help ease the burden on all.
"It's all about patient care," she said. "At the end of my studies, I will be able to prescribe medication for my patients and write medication charts for nurses. It means I can write the prescriptions and charts and they can have the medication and orders within an hour, which isn't always possible at the moment.
"It will provide better patient-centred care and give patients better choices."
After her original nursing degree, Ms Spurge also completed a Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care and a Diploma of Management. She has worked as a nurse consultant in palliative care for about 15 years at Portland District Health.
She is in the third and last year of her Master's Degree in Nurse Practitioner through Flinders University and has already been recognised for her high achievements, winning a Chancellor's letter of commendation for "outstanding academic achievement and high GPA".
Her Grade Point Average (GPA) is 6.75 from a possible score of 7, and all this has been achieved while working full-time and raising children.
The study has been invaluable. "Some of the important areas I've learnt about include patient assessment, the importance of looking at drug interactions and allergies, and assessing patients experiencing common palliative care symptoms and pain."
This year, Ms Spurge will complete 300 hours of supervised placement at South West Healthcare Warrnambool with palliative care doctor Emma Greenwood (pictured left).
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