Meet The Team

The Palliative Care Learning Academy has a wide range of clinical, research and professional expertise amongst its members of staff.

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Nuala Kilmartin

Nuala joins the organisation with extensive commercial management experience across private, public and the voluntary sector. She has held various senior roles in multiple business disciplines, and is committed to promoting education/industry integration having spent her last 15 years in the further education sector. Nuala has specific experience in stakeholder management, economic development, innovative consultancy/curriculum design, research and emerging technologies. Nuala is taking up the role to lead and develop The Palliative Care Academy (PCLA), with the responsibility of identifying and developing income generation opportunities and developing new business, through collaborative partnerships in high quality palliative and end of life education.

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 Northern Ireland Hospice 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.

Joanne Ballentine, Lecturer in Palliative Care

Joanne has been a nurse for over 35 years but has worked for the last 18 years within specialist palliative care holding a variety of clinical and managerial roles within NI Hospice. She joined the PCLA as lecturer in Nov 2018, with specialist qualifications in Palliative Care but brings the education and development of palliative dementia care to her role. She lead Northern Ireland Hospice’s recent 3yr project - Hospice Enabled Dementia Partnerships, (HEDP), which was funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, to improve access for people with dementia to specialist palliative care. Through this project Joanne has developed enhanced knowledge and skills in dementia, focusing on the palliative symptom management and end of life support of persons with dementia and their carers and as well as being part of PCLA lecturing team, also works clinically for the organisation as a Hospice Nurse Specialist, Dementia, leading the Dementia Wellbeing Team. Joanne also co-lead the NI Hospice conference planning team for the recent International Conference on Palliative Dementia Care, which was hosted by the organisation in Belfast 8-10 May 2019. This conference brought together delegates from across the world, both palliative and dementia specialities, to discuss the importance of providing palliative and end of life care for persons with dementia and their carers, as well as showcasing current research, best practice and innovative developments. Joanne is also involved in Hospice UK/Dementia UK community of practice group looking at development of palliative dementia care.
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Gillian Walker, Occupational Therapist

Gillian has been an Occupational Therapist for over 25 years working in a variety of settings including psychiatry, care of the elderly, brain injury, community services and palliative care. She has over 20 years experience in specialist palliative care including work within in-patient care, Day Hospice, outpatient and wellbeing settings, providing both individual treatment and group therapy sessions and working alongside patients, families and carers. Gillian joined the PCLA as an Associate lecturer in December 2018 and as an AHP is keen to promote the importance of a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to patient assessment and treatment, thereby enhancing holistic and patient centred care and promoting quality of life. She has a specific interest in the areas of palliative rehabilitation and the non-pharmacological management of symptoms, in particular fatigue and anxiety management and falls prevention. Rehabilitative palliative care is an exciting and growing area of specialist palliative care to be involved in at this time as professionals aim to empower and enable patients to maximise function, achieve goals, self-manage their symptoms and maximise treatment outcomes.

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.

Anne Rogan, Education Team Administrator

Anne Rogan provides administrative support to the Education, Innovation and Research Department. She co-ordinates bookings for courses, and can be contacted in connection with room hire.