In 1995, as an oncologist in Romania, I was usually treating patients with advanced cancer, seeing a lot of suffering and not even suspecting there was something that could be done. By chance, I happened to attend a conference on ‘palliative care’ (not that it meant anything to me). It was fantastic: Mary Baines running a workshop on pain made it all so clear as to how to manage this symptom and the session on ‘breaking bad news’ – wow … what a revelation!
Later in that year I started my work at Hospice Casa Sperantei in Brasov and my journey as a palliative care doctor began: learning, working, sharing, growing, educating, networking, engaging in policy changes in order to bring palliative care to patients and families in Romania and in the region. And, nevertheless, learning to be patient and perseverant when it comes to national policy changes.
Currently, I am Director of Education and National Development at Hospice Casa Sperantei. My clinical work as a palliative care doctor is in the outpatient clinic of the hospice. I am also an associate professor at the Brasov Medical Faculty where I lead the multidisciplinary palliative care master’s programme (the only such programme in Romania).
My special interest is in education in palliative care, particularly education, and in service development. I am leading a European Erasmus + project, EDUPALL, (where EAPC is one of the partners), that aims to develop and test a model palliative care curriculum in several universities based on the EAPC guidelines for undergraduate curriculum. The curriculum and trainers’ materials will be presented on 22 May at the preconference of the 16th EAPC World Congress in Berlin. We hope during this meeting to collect feedback from colleagues all over Europe before we release the final, free of charge version.
Another interest is how to increase research capacity in Eastern Europe so that palliative care professionals from this area can make visible their work. In the service development area, my present activities are linked with developing and piloting key palliative care interventions in the community and in oncology institutes.
If re-elected to the board, I would hope to bring to a specific EAPC task force the expertise that I have gained. It would be a pleasure to stand for a second term as an EAPC board member, to continue working with colleagues from all over Europe, and to contribute as much as possible to making the EAPC a reference point and support organisation for Eastern European countries.
As the mother of four children and the wife of a priest, God has blessed me with many opportunities and challenges to become, hopefully, a wiser person!