Meet The Team

The Education, Innovation and Research Department has a wide range of clinical, research and professional expertise amongst its members of staff.

Dr Jenny Sproule - Head of Education, Innovation and Research

Jenny has over 20 years experience of conducting complex social policy evaluations on behalf of Government Departments, Public Bodies, local Councils, Universities, the private and voluntary sector. Jenny’s doctoral thesis was based on community development, health, social well-being and the interaction of the voluntary and statutory sector; she completed her undergraduate degree in Social Administration and Policy at the University of Ulster.

Her role within Northern Ireland Hospice is to manage and develop the Education, Innovation and Research function, both internally and externally at a local, regional, national and international level, and to explore creative and innovative ways of working in partnership with key stakeholders to better support and deliver best practice in palliative/end-of-life care. She has a keen interest in identifying and nurturing innovative approaches to develop  e-learning opportunities, and enhancing in-house mandatory training across all staff levels to support a highly skilled/professional workforce.

Sue Foster - Lecturer in Palliative Care

Sue has been in nursing for twenty five years and has gathered experience of palliative care in a variety of settings. Her role as a Lecturer in Palliative Care is to develop and facilitate continuous professional development activities and provide multi-disciplinary palliative care education, both internally and externally. Sue co-ordinates the European Certificate in Holistic Dementia Care along with other Study Days and Masterclasses organised by Northern Ireland Hospice.

Sue holds a joint post and works in a collaborative role with the Ulster University. She leads on the Specialist Nursing Practice Palliative Care course at both undergraduate and post graduate levels, and also leads on the palliative care modules with in the Post Graduate Diploma and Masters in Palliative Care. She is interested in all aspects of palliative care education and practice development and has a particular interest on the end-of-life care needs of people with dementia.  Her research interests and activities have included the palliative care needs of people with dementia, practice development and a study exploring the needs of patients with Parkinson’s disease and their carers.

Evelyn Whittaker - Lecturer in Palliative Care

Evelyn has worked in a variety of roles within specialist palliative care since 1998. Prior to moving to her current post, she worked in the community as a Hospice Nurse Specialist. Her role as a Lecturer in Palliative Care is to promote, plan, develop and facilitate continuous professional development activities and provide multi-disciplinary palliative care education, both internally and externally. Evelyn co-ordinates the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care along with the other Study Days and Masterclasses organised by Northern Ireland Hospice. 

Evelyn’s main research interest is around nursing home education. She has led on a number of regional projects to deliver palliative care education to nursing homes. She has also written and co-edited Regional GAIN Guidelines for Palliative and End of Life Care for Nursing Homes.

 Sharon McCloskey - Lecturer in Paediatric Palliative Care

Sharon is a paediatric palliative care lecturer within the team.  She has over 30 years’ experience as a nurse and has worked in a variety of services, predominantly linked to the care and support of children and their families in practice, management and leadership positions. Her specific area of interest and expertise is children’s palliative care.  Working with other colleagues, Sharon’s areas of responsibility include leading on the development and delivery of high quality paediatric palliative care research and education services in collaboration with internal and external partners.

Within her research role she is particularly interested in applying participatory action research methods to evaluating and improving services and reviewing how services can better support the psychosocial needs of children and families.  She has recently completed a Doctoral thesis through which she developed an intervention to enhance resilience in parents of children with complex health needs.

Nuala Connolly - E-Learning Officer

Nuala Connolly is the E-Learning Officer with the department. Her role is to work with subject matter experts within Northern Ireland Hospice to develop online training materials, or to adapt existing face to face content for an e-learning format. She has extensive experience in the design, delivery and evaluation of training programmes, and has a particular interest in creating engaging e-learning content.  She develops Learning Matters, the Hospice e-learning site, and provides support to staff with queries. She also provides support for the Hospice ECHO Project.