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Palliative Care Week: One nurse’s journey


Story by Holly McKay

Nursing has never been just a job for Jasmine Sebastian, it’s part of who she is.

Jasmine is a registered nurse at Cabrini Palliative and Supportive Care in Prahran, a post she took up four months ago after a particularly special moment caring for a dying patient.

As part of Palliative Care Week we wanted to highlight the incredible work our palliative care team do, Jasmine is one of 110 staff members who provide a wide range of services including medical support, nursing, pastoral care, counselling and physiotherapy to patients at Prahran.

Since she was an 18-year-old Jasmine has worked in healthcare, but said she moved from her role as a trauma and orthopaedics registered nurse to palliative care following “a deeply emotional experience caring for a dying patient and his wonderful family”.

Jasmine said she provided the patient with pain relief and comfort care, while looking at photo albums and singing songs at the bedside with the family.

“I was really moved after his passing, and his family told me I should consider a career in palliative care – so here I am working at Cabrini’s palliative care hospice,” she said.

“Every day, I help dying patients spend their last months, weeks, days or hours in comfort and with dignity. It is unlike any other nursing role I’ve had before. We don’t focus on a broken bone, or a diseased organ in particular, but instead, we look at the entire human being, their family and friends, their dreams and goals and work toward achieving it with them.”

Jasmine said palliative care was a service everyone could need at some stage in their life and that it wasn’t just about the patient, but about the family too.

“Good palliative care can really change the experience of death and dying for families,” she said.

“Palliative care is really less about death, but more about finding meaning in the time you have left, for both the patient and their loved ones.”

Jasmine said nursing was a profession that involved dealing with vulnerable people often going through tough times and she was passionate about fighting for what was right.

“Nursing has never just been a job to me, but central to my identity as a person,” she said.

“Whenever anyone asks me to tell them about myself, the first thing I always say is that I’m a nurse – it’s so important to me.”

She said after working at a number of hospitals and healthcare providers she could pinpoint exactly what set Cabrini apart from the rest.

“What makes Cabrini special is the understanding that happy, well-educated and fulfilled nurses provide the best patient care,” Jasmine said.

“Since working here, I have been given the educational support to complete my duties safely. Moreover, I am treated with respect and compassion by my colleagues and the patient, and that gives me the strength to do my job to the best of my ability. Patients really benefit from happy nurses and Cabrini keeps me happy.”

Learn more about Cabrini Palliative and Supportive Care.