Congratulations Sharmalie Wijesinghe – Finalist in Excellence in Generalist Palliative Care

Sharmalie Wijesinghe

Pictured: Sharmalie Wijesinghe, Practice Development Nurse Educator, Palliative Care, at Caritas Christi.

Palliative Care Australia’s National Palliative Care Awards aim to recognise innovation, teamwork and emerging talent in the palliative care sector. The awards acknowledge the efforts of individuals and organisations who provide exceptional support and care for people receiving palliative care, through public recognition.

This year Sharmalie Wijesinghe was nominated for the Palliative Care Award and became a finalist and the only nurse in the General Palliative Care category from Victoria. 

“I am grateful for the nomination and recognition; I feel blessed to have been acknowledged. It encourages me to contribute more to palliative care and motivates me to give back. I have achieved so much and have gained knowledge and experience in palliative care and am now in a position to share it with others.”

Sharmalie's nomination recognises a person who has made significant contributions to generalist palliative care. It acknowledges that the medical management and coordination of care for people living with a life-limiting illness is often undertaken by a wide range of health professionals.

Nursing Education

Sharmalie migrated to Australia in 2004 to study nursing. Being a mother of two young children, studying full time was extremely difficult but she overcame this challenge and now has a successful career in healthcare. 

“I believe life is a series of challenges. I took on those challenges which have charted my progress and become merely stepping stones towards success.”

Sharmalie’s focus has always been to become a palliative care nurse. She was awarded the Order of Malta Palliative care Excellence in Melbourne for highest academic achievement in her final year at Australian Catholic University (ACU), which gave her the courage to study further and specialise in Palliative care.

“I believe that every nurse starting their career can benefit from the experience of a senior nurse offering guidance and encouragement on a one-to-one basis or formal mentorship.”

“I joined St Vincent’s at the beginning of the year and my managers Virginia Walker and Jade Murphy, the rest of the team at Education and Learning and the whole team at Caritas Christi have made me feel welcome since day one and I now feel wholly integrated into the team.”

“The support, the encouragement and appreciation that I have received  is something I really cherish. Having also provided me with this opportunity to write to you, I truly feel and would like to highlight that professionally St Vincent’s has recognised my skills and given me the opportunity to move forward. “

Further Aspirations

The next focus of Sharmalie’s career will be in education supporting nurses and students who are involved in palliative/supportive/comfort care.

“I strongly believe that on-going evidence-based education in this speciality is important.”

“If I could pass a single message, it would be the importance of connecting with people. Not only with patients but with colleagues and all the other members of the multidisciplinary team. This is so important for teamwork leading directly to improvements in quality of patient care.”