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A South Australian Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner working within aged care to improve the care of older Australians as they approach the end of their lives has taken out this year’s Nurse Practitioner of the Year award.

Peter Jenkin, a highly experienced NP who has worked in numerous clinical, research and education roles within palliative care for more than 25 years, received the prestigious award at last week’s Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) National Conference in Sydney.

Reflecting on the honour, which recognises an NP who demonstrated outstanding qualities in the areas of clinical work, mentoring, and leadership, Peter said he developed an interest in the interface between palliative care and aged care early on in his career, which was a big change from his start as an ambo and ED nurse.

For the past 11 years, Peter has worked as a Palliative Care NP at Resthaven, one of the largest aged care providers in the state. His role and model of care is unique as he was the first, and remains one of only a handful, of specialist Palliative Care NPs in Australia employed by an aged care provider.

The philosophy aims to maintain or improve quality of life through the prevention and relief of suffering. This can include controlling physical symptoms such as pain, support with emotional or social needs, and support for carers and family.

Peter’s recent contributions emerged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He became an active member of the National COVID19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce: Care of Older People and Palliative Care expert panel and was responsible for two national webinars early in the pandemic, giving practical advice for aged and palliative care frontline staff to plan for the potentially devastating effects of COVID in residential and community settings.

Announcing the award last week, ACNP President Leanne Boase described Peter as a worthy recipient.

“Peter is certainly a worthy recipient of the 2022 Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award, and we couldn’t be prouder to present this award,” she said.

“Nurse Practitioners (NPs) deliver high quality health care in metropolitan, regional and rural areas throughout Australia. The last couple of years have presented NPs with even greater challenges within their communities, and it is wonderful to see Peter recognised for his incredible work.”