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Contact Details

+64 21 062 0068
Lecturer, Module Convener
Department of General Practice and Rural Health (Dunedin)
Research summary
Palliative care education for undergraduate medical and nursing students

I convene the Early Professional Experience (EPE) vertical module for years 2-3 medical students. Through experiential learning and tutorial based discussions, students are introduced to important social, clinical and professional practice issues, and student health and wellbeing. The EPE module aims to develop resilient and reflective practitioners, and to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

I also convene the Palliative Medicine and End of Life Care (PEOLC) vertical module, which integrates teaching and learning about PEOLC throughout the undergraduate medical degree.

  • Palliative Care Aotearoa Research Network (regional liason); Aotearoa New Zealand Undergraduate Medicine Palliative and End of Life Care Curriculum Working Group
  • Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand
  • Otago Medical School Senior Leadership Team
  • ELM Assessment Subcommittee
  • ELM Curriculum Subcommittee
  • Student Progress Committee

While I am not currently clinically active, I have 20 years clinical experience, primarily in hospice palliative care and neurosurgery and neurology, with other experience in internal medicine, coronary care and age care.


My PhD research employed mixed methodology to investigate medical and nursing graduates' preparation, self-efficacy and attitudes towards caring for people with palliative and end of life care needs.

I am also involved in a qualitative study that evaluates the effectiveness of a national undergraduate palliative medicine curriculum in preparing first year doctors to care for dying patients.

Meanwhile, my Master's degree explored the impact of palliative care education on care assistants employed in residential age care settings.


Dew, R., Heath, L., & Egan, R. (2022). Narratives of loss: The impact of Covid-19 lockdown on experiences of loss, grief, and bereavement. Journal of Primary Health Care, 14(4), 345-351. doi: 10.1071/HC22090 Journal - Research Article

Heath, L., Egan, R., Iosua, E., Walker, R., Ross, J., & MacLeod, R. (2022). Palliative and end of life care in undergraduate medical education: A survey of New Zealand medical schools. BMC Medical Education, 22(1), 530. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03593-3 Journal - Research Article

Heath, L., Egan, R., Ross, J., Iosua, E., Walker, R., & MacLeod, R. (2021). Preparing nurses for palliative and end of life care: A survey of New Zealand nursing schools. Nurse Education Today, 100, 104822. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2021.104822 Journal - Research Article

Heath, L., Egan, R., Ross, J., Iosua, E., Walker, R., & MacLeod, R. (2020). Teaching palliative care skills. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, 26(10), 16-17. Journal - Research Article

Smith-Han, K., Chambers, S., Wilson, H., Latta, L., & Nicholson, H. (2020). Transformational learning through being mortal [Short communications]. Proceedings of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE): The Virtual Conference. SC11.1.1 (6536). Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

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