Awarding palliative care excellence

Robert becker.fw

Shrewsbury-based palliative care lecturer Robert Becker (MSc Psychosocial Palliative Care, 1997) recently received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London.

Professor Bridget Johnston who presented the award on behalf of the International Journal of Palliative Nursing said: “Bob’s contribution to palliative care education in the UK and internationally has been exemplary. His academic teaching and humanitarian work in several countries has been inspirational. Combined with his extensive publishing, including web-based courses, he has made a huge difference to the knowledge and skills of nurses across the globe.”

After receiving his award, Robert commented: “To be recognised by my peers in this way is a huge honour. The challenges of educating nurses about the importance of caring for the dying in whatever settings are huge in these times of austerity, but I know the immense value that nurses place on such skills. It goes to the core of what caring is all about and keeps us in touch with our humanity.”

Reflecting on his time at the University of Southampton, Robert said: “It’s fair to say that my studies in the School of Social Sciences at the University helped significantly to lay the foundation for my career as a senior lecturer in palliative care. I count myself very fortunate to have been taught by the late and highly respected Frances Sheldon who created and ran the only masters programme in psychosocial palliative care anywhere in the UK.

“The emphasis on ethical good practice, communication skills and family-centred support dovetailed exactly into my teaching role in the university and hospice where I worked, contributing hugely to advancing my knowledge and teaching skills. Those skills were directly transferable to the many international environments where I came to teach as part of humanitarian teams in places as diverse as Belarus, Russia and China. I’m now semi-retired and still teach freelance around the UK and Europe drawing on the knowledge from my studies.”

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