The 2018 Palliative Care Nurses Australia Conference ‘Fostering Excellence in Palliative Care' marks 13 years for our organisation and provides opportunity to consider the future for our sector and for palliative care nursing.

PNCA 2018 is a unique opportunity to meet with and hear from nurses with an interest in provision of high quality, contemporary palliative care.

The Committee is pleased to confirm the following keynote presentations:


Shelley Nowlan

Adjunct Professor Shelley Nowlan RN, BN, MHM, Grad Dip PM, MAICD and FACN

Conference opening

The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer is critical to provide leadership for the state-wide strategic direction for nursing and midwifery services as well as provide professional leadership for our nurses and midwives of Queensland. Shelley Nowlan was appointed to the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for Queensland in September 2016. 

Shelley has over 30 years’ experience in a range of health settings and experiences.  Of these, 16 years’ experience working closely and within metropolitan, regional and rural public sector executive clinical and health administrative leadership roles at a strategic and an operational level.  

Shelley currently holds professorial positions as Adjunct Professor – School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, The University Queensland and Adjunct Professor – School of Medicine, Griffith University. 

For those of you that know Shelley, she is a people orientated nurse leader who is experienced in clinical innovation, leading strategic planning, significant nursing workforce commissioning, policy development at state level, clinical practice, research and workforce development to meet the needs of a contemporary healthcare system. 

Her visionary leadership has achieved practical outcomes for the nursing profession and clinical care re-design with success in developing and leading State-wide and Local programs. To achieve positive outcomes for Nursing and Midwifery she has worked closely with National partners, state-wide Public and Private sector, local area health leads, Universities, VET sector, consumers and the unions partnering in key initiatives to achieve the best in healthcare for communities.  Shelley has a particular interest in Rural and Remote Healthcare in Queensland as well as advanced practice models of care. Shelley looks forward to working with you as she leads the Nursing and Midwifery strategic agenda for Queensland.


Kate Swetenham

Margaret O'Connor Oration

Kate is a registered nurse who is the Clinical Director for Southern Adelaide Palliative Services (SAPS). SAPS is a regional level 6 service which has a dedicated inpatient unit of 15 beds. Laurel Hospice, provides consultation liaison services to Flinders Medical Centre and serves a population of 350,000 with community home visiting support.

Kate established a nurse led early introductory clinic in 2011 and has conducted evaluation to ascertain acceptability of the clinic to patients and carers followed by a communication study to understand the impact and value of this particular style of clinic.

Kate holds qualifications in psycho oncology, palliative care and recently completed her Master of Science where the nurse led clinic was the focus of her research.

Kate was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2017 and will undertake travel to the UK, Ireland and Canada in September 2018 to investigate end of life care strategies with a view to inform the South Australian end of life care framework currently in development. 

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Ranak Trivedi

Leveraging the Patient-Caregiver Dyad in Advanced Chronic Illnesses: Challenges and Opportunities

Dr. Ranak Trivedi is a clinical and health psychologist and a health services researcher with an expertise in understanding the psychosocial underpinnings of managing advanced chronic illness. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and a Core Investigator at the Center for Innovation to Implementation at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Her recent work has focused on understanding the barriers of engaging informal caregivers in day-to-day care from various perspectives, and developing programs that can improve communication and collaboration between patients and their informal caregivers. Ongoing work focuses on biobehavioral and sociobehavioral mechanisms that underlie the patient-caregiver relationship with the goal of developing more precise and tailored intervention programs. Her work has spanned many clinical populations, notably chronic heart failure, COPD, advanced chronic kidney disease, cancer, and depression.

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John Kleinsman

Changing Demographics & Changing Metaphors:  The musings of a middle-aged ethicist on death and dying

Dr John Kleinsman is the current chair of the Care Alliance NZ, an organisation that brings together organisations and individuals who want to nurture better conversations about dying in Aotearoa New Zealand and who share the view that a compassionate and ethical response to suffering does not include euthanasia and assisted suicide. John is also Director of The Nathaniel Bioethics Centre, based in Wellington. He brings a varied background of community experience to his work in bioethics as a result of previous employment in the disability support and drug and alcohol rehabilitation sectors.


Christine Jacobs  AM

Genetics in palliative care - too much to ask?

Chris Jacobs is a UK Registered Genetic Counsellor and Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in the field of cancer genetics. She was a consultant genetic counsellor at Guy’s Hospital in London where she led the cancer genetics service from 2008 to 2014.

Since moving to Sydney in 2015, Chris has focused on her PhD which investigates communication about cancer genetics with breast and ovarian cancer patients. Chris was recently appointed to the post of Senior Lecturer in Genetic Counselling at UTS which she will commence in February 2018.

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Carmelle Peisah

Old Age Psychiatrist; Conjoint Professor UNSW; Clinical Associate Professor Sydney University; Founder and President of Capacity Australia; Expertise in human rights and palliative psychiatry; Co-author of the 2017 AustLii, E-text “Capacity and the Law” http://austlii.community/wiki/Books/CapacityAndTheLaw/


Karen Glaetzer AM

The Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Role from Dream to Reality

Karen Glaetzer has nearly 30 years’ experience in Palliative Care. In 1988, Karen was involved in the setting up and development of the Daw House Hospice and has pioneered palliative care consultancy services to public and private hospitals in Adelaide. She was the first nurse in Australia to be endorsed as a Nurse Practitioner in the specialty of Palliative Care in August 2003.

She has an academic appointment with the School of Medicine, Flinders University. Karen has post graduate qualifications in Oncology, Bioethics, Palliative Care and Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner). Her special interest areas include Mental Health, the Disability Sector and Motor Neurone Disease. Karen is actively involved in service improvement and research projects across a variety of subject areas. In 2013, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, to visit The Netherlands, UK and Ireland to improve the palliative care for individuals with an intellectual or long term physical disability.

Panel Speakers

Physician Assisted Suicide: the implications for palliative care nursing

Faciliator: Liz Callaghan, CEO Palliative Care Australia (PCA)


Dr John Kleinsman

Dr John Kleinsman is the current chair of the Care Alliance NZ, an organisation that brings together organisations and individuals who want to nurture better conversations about dying in Aotearoa New Zealand and who share the view that a compassionate and ethical response to suffering does not include euthanasia and assisted suicide. John is also Director of The Nathaniel Bioethics Centre, based in Wellington. He brings a varied background of community experience to his work in bioethics as a result of previous employment in the disability support and drug and alcohol rehabilitation sectors.


Emeritus Professor Margaret O'Connor AM

Margaret’s diverse career of more than 30 years in clinical palliative care, has encompassed the establishment and management of mainly community-based palliative care services, clinical nursing, research and education.  

Margaret was the inaugural Vivian Bullwinkel Chair in Palliative Care Nursing, at Monash University from 2003-14, and remains at Monash as Emeritus Professor. She has served on many State National and international Committees, including President of Palliative Care Australia from 2006-2010. She also sits on a number of boards and committees in the community and in 2017, served as Deputy Chairperson of the Victorian Advisory Committee on Voluntary Assisted Dying.  


Associate Professor Philip Good

(Profile coming soon)


Professor Ben White

Professor and Director of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research in the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Ben graduated with first class Honours and a University Medal in Law from QUT and then completed a DPhil at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. His area of research focus is end-of-life decision-making and his work is interdisciplinary with publications in law, medicine, bioethics and social science journals. He is undertaking a program of research examining law, policy and practice at the end of life through a series of Australian Research Council and NHMRC grants.



Joshua Cohen

Joshua Cohen is a palliative care nurse practitioner working at Calvary Health Care Kogarah in Sydney. Joshua’s two passions is the delivery of specialist palliative care into residential aged care, trying to fill the gap both in clinical care and service provision in his role as a nurse practitioner; and teaching palliative care nursing throughout Asia when the opportunity arises. Josh has been working in palliative care for over a decade completing his Masters in Palliative Care at Flinders University in 2013, followed by the completion of his Master of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner at the University of Sydney IN 2017. 

Using Technology to improve Palliative Care Outcomes


Faciliator:  Professor Jane Phillips

PCNA President



Professor Jennifer Tieman

Professor Jennifer Tieman is Dean Research, Nursing and Health Science and CareSearch Director. She is responsible for the CareSearch and palliAGED websites and is involved with a number of other national projects including End of Life Directions in Aged Care (ELDAC), End of Life Essentials Education, and the Advance Project. She has a particular interest in the fields of digital health and implementation science as they relate to palliative care and ageing.


Dr Natalie Bradford

(Profile coming soon)


Dr Anjali Jaiprakash

(Profile coming soon)


Professor Len Gray

Len Gray is Director of UQ Centre for Health Services Research and Professor in Geriatric Medicine. He is trained in health management and as a specialist in geriatric medicine. His career has encompassed clinical practice, senior health administration roles, and the past 15 years in an academic role at UQ. Research interests include health systems organisation, assessment and quality systems, aged care in general and telehealth. He is the principle investigator on the NHMRC Centre of Excellence in Telehealth.


Dr Sarah Winch

Dr Sarah Winch is head of the discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professionalism at the Faculty of Medicine. Sarah is one of Australia’s leading health ethicists holding membership on two prestigious national ethics committees. Her ethics advice and training is sought nationally and internationally by clinicians and government agencies. Sarah has published over 60 academic journal articles and book chapters on ethics, compassion, evidence based practice and research capacity building, and has acquitted over $3 million in competitive research funding. She has developed the café model for teaching ethics to clinicians from all backgrounds and is committed to facilitating community death literacy through the applied arts. Her book “The Best Death. How to Die Well” recently released by UQP, is designed to help Australians get the best death possible.