Claudia has worked in specialist palliative care within a clinical or policy environment for over 12 years and has nursed for over 15 years. Prior to joining UTS Claudia led and managed a team at Palliative Care Australia to run the National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP), a quality improvement program for all specialist palliative care services across Australia.
Claudia has worked in large metropolitan tertiary centres (both in Australia and England) and in an Australian rural setting. Claudia has completed her Bachelor of Nursing with Honours, a Masters in Advancing Professional Healthcare Practice (Cancer Care) and is currently a PhD candidate looking at: Developing and pilot-testing person centred quality improvement measures to improve end-of-life care in Australia's acute care system.
Other research completed includes work looking at education models supporting the integration of Palliative Care knowledge into Residential Aged Care Facilities, looking at adult and paediatric palliative care in both practice and philosophy, validating a tool assessing nurse competence against variable training settings and other work focusing on optimal models of care for people with palliative care needs.
Claudia has also led significant project work including the Faculty of Health Graduate Attributes Project, the National Standards Assessment Program, Rural Palliative Care Project, Aged Care Access Initiative, Aged Care Panel work as well as supporting many other projects through collaborative partnerships.
Claudia is passionate about Palliative Care and how such an approach to care enhances the quality of life for those with serious and progressive illness.
Professional memberships and representative positions held:
- Palliative Care NSW – Previous secretary and management committee member
- Palliative Care Australia- Previous Council Member and invited member of the Palliative Care Australia Standards Review Group: 2013 - current
- Palliative Care Nurses Australia -Inaugural member and previously selected to the Board
- Invited member of the Project Board – Review of the National Palliative Care Standards, Palliative Care Australia: 2013 - current
Recent Key achievements
- Awarded the Faculty of Health Dean’s Academic Excellence Award 2014 for Human Rights
- Nominated for the UTS Reconciliation Award 2014 and received a commendation
- Awarded the Inaugural UTS Faculty of Health Nurse of the Year award, 2014
- Invited as the key speaker for a Palliative Care Parliamentary lunch – Palliative Care and rural Australia (June 2013)
- Awarded the Ian Maddock’s Guest Lecture Award at the Palliative Care Australia Conference, 2011
- Nominated in the category of ‘Leadership’ for the Inaugural Palliative Care NSW Awards 2009
Conferences/ workshop presentations (past 2 years only)
What do patients with palliative care needs and their carers state is most important for end-of-life care in the hospital system? A systematic review
13th Australian Palliative Care Conference, Melbourne (Sept 2015)
Dying in the hospital setting: A systematic review identifying the domains of end-of-life care that patients and their families rank as being most important.
Palliative Care NSW Conference, Sydney (Oct 2014)
Role modelling that palliative care is everyone’s business for undergraduate nursing students
Palliative Care Nurses Australia National Conference, Sydney (April 2014)
'Dying in the acute care setting: What do patients and caregivers consider important for optimal end-of-life care?'
Palliative Care Nurses Australia National Conference, Sydney (April 2014)
'A systematic integrative review for paediatric palliative care: key elements for optimal end of life care from the perspectives of children and parents'
Palliative Care Nurses Australia National Conference, Sydney (April 2014)
Virtual simulation - development of a multi-dimensional Indigenous case study
International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) (San Fransisco) – unable to attend presentation so presented by team members (Jan 2014)
Virdun, C., Luckett, T., Davidson, P.M. & Phillips, J. 2015, ‘Dying in the hospital setting: A systematic review of quantitative studies identifying the elements of end-of-life care that patients and their families rank as being most important’, Palliative Medicine, viewed 30 April 2015, http://pmj.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/0269216315583032v1.pdf?ijkey=x6YCyjq29oJGG14&keytype=finite
Note: This publication was chosen to be the Editor’s Choice for Palliative Medicine (Oct 2015)
Power, T., Virdun, C., Parker, N., Van Balen, J., Sherwood, J., Gray, J and Jackson, D (2014) REM: A collaborative framework for building Indigenous cultural competence (JTN-14-216) Journal of Transcultural Nursing http://tcn.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/1043659615587589v1.pdf?ijkey=WzCFMJug6nrxIIU&keytype=finite
Virdun, C., and Phillips, J: Commentary on Jack B, Baldry C, Groves K, Whelan A, Sephton J and Gaunt K (2013) Supporting home care for the dying: an evaluation of healthcare professionals' perspectives of an individually tailored hospice at home service. Journal of Clinical Nursing 22, 2778-2786
Virdun, C., Brown, N., Phillips, J., Luckett, T., Agar, M., Green, A., Davidson, P (2014). Elements of optimal paediatric palliative care: an integrative review using a systematic approach. Collegian
Luckett, T., Phillips, J., Agar, M., Virdun, C., Green, A., & Davidson, P. M. (2014). Elements of effective palliative care models: a rapid review. BMC health services research, 14(1), 136.
Virdun, C, Gray, J, Sherwood, J, Power, T, Phillips, A, Parker, N & Jackson, D .2013, 'Working together to make Indigenous health care curricula everybody's business: A graduate attribute teaching innovation report', Contemporary Nurse, 46(1), 92-99.
Reviewed a chapter on ‘Caring for Older Adults at the End of Life’ in Hunter, S. (2012) Nursing for Wellness in Older Adults (2nd Ed) Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Sydney, Australia
Complex and Chronic Care
Nursing Care of the Older Person (Undergraduate)
Introduction to Specialty Practice: Palliative Care (Undergraduate)
Virdun, C, Luckett, T, Lorenz, K, Davidson, PM & Phillips, J 2020, 'Hospital patients' perspectives on what is essential to enable optimal palliative care: A qualitative study', PALLIATIVE MEDICINE.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Geia, L, Baird, K, Bail, K, Barclay, L, Bennett, J, Best, O, Birks, M, Blackley, L, Blackman, R, Bonner, A, Bryant Ao, R, Buzzacott, C, Campbell, S, Catling, C, Chamberlain, C, Cox, L, Cross, W, Cruickshank, M, Cummins, A, Dahlen, H, Daly, J, Darbyshire, P, Davidson, P, Denny-Wilson, E, De Souza, R, Doyle, K, Drummond, A, Duff, J, Duffield, C, Dunning, T, East, L, Elliott, D, Elmir, R, Fergie, D, Ferguson, C, Fernandez, R, Flower Am, D, Foureur, M, Fowler, C, Fry, M, Gorman, E, Grant, J, Gray, J, Halcomb, E, Hart, B, Hartz, D, Hazelton, M, Heaton, L, Hickman, L, Homer, C, Hungerford, C, Hutton, A, Jackson Ao, D, Johnson, A, Kelly, M, Kitson, A, Knight, S, Levett-Jones, T, Lindsay, D, Lovett, R, Luck, L, Malloy, L, Manias, E, Mannix, J, Marriott Am, R, Martin, M, Massey, D, McCloughen, A, McGough, S, McGrath, L, Mills, J, Mitchell, B, Mohamed, J, Montayre, J, Moroney, T, Moyle, W, Moxham, L, Northam Am, H, Nowlan, S, O'Brien, T, Ogunsiji, O, Patterson, C, Pennington, K, Peters, K, Phillips, J, Power, T, Procter, N, Ramjan, L, Ramsay, N, Rasmussen, B, Rihari-Thomas, J, Rind, B, Robinson, M, Roche, M, Sainsbury, K, Salamonson, Y, Sherwood, J, Shields, L, Sim, J, Skinner, I, Smallwood, G, Smallwood, R, Stewart, L, Taylor, S, Usher Am, K, Virdun, C, Wannell, J, Ward, R, West, C, West, R, Wilkes, L, Williams, R, Wilson, R, Wynaden, D & Wynn, R 2020, 'A unified call to action from Australian Nursing and Midwifery leaders: ensuring that Black Lives Matter.', Contemporary nurse, pp. 1-20.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Nurses and midwives of Australia now is the time for change! As powerfully placed, Indigenous and non-Indigenous nursing and midwifery professionals, together we can ensure an effective and robust Indigenous curriculum in our nursing and midwifery schools of education. Today, Australia finds itself in a shifting tide of social change, where the voices for better and safer health care ring out loud. Voices for justice, equity and equality reverberate across our cities, our streets, homes, and institutions of learning. It is a call for new songlines of reform. The need to embed meaningful Indigenous health curricula is stronger now than it ever was for Australian nursing and midwifery. It is essential that nursing and midwifery leadership continue to build an authentic collaborative environment for Indigenous curriculum development. Bipartisan alliance is imperative for all academic staff to be confident in their teaching and learning experiences with Indigenous health syllabus. This paper is a call out. Now is the time for Indigenous and non-Indigenous nurses and midwives to make a stand together, for justice and equity in our teaching, learning, and practice. Together we will dismantle systems, policy, and practices in health that oppress. The Black Lives Matter movement provides us with a 'now window' of accepted dialogue to build a better, culturally safe Australian nursing and midwifery workforce, ensuring that Black Lives Matter in all aspects of health care.
Virdun, C, Luckett, T, Gilmore, I, Brassil, M, Lilian, R, Lorenz, K & Phillips, J 2019, 'Involving consumers with palliative care needs and their families in research: A case study', Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 645-650.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019 Australian College of Nursing Ltd Background: There are significant policy imperatives to involve consumers at the outset of and throughout research. How best to achieve this in an authentic and meaningful way is elusive, particularly within the palliative care population. Aim: To determine how best to engage people with palliative care needs and their families in co-designing a qualitative study to better understand how to improve care of the dying in the acute care setting. Methods: A case study design informed this work, informed by pre-determined research questions that focused on consumers advising on participant experience within the research, rather than research methodology per se. Findings: Eleven consumers contributed across five panel meetings. Analysis of documented feedback led to four key areas of protocol change: Getting the language in the recruitment materials and information and consent forms right; Developing a feasible and acceptable recruitment strategy; Opportunities to more clearly articulate the explicit value of this research for patients and families; Support strategies for participants. Discussion: Authentic consumer engagement requires time and effort; however, the outcomes are well worth the invested time and energy. Key foci outlined within this case study to enhance authenticity included: collaboration; preferencing the consumer voice; adequate preparation to support consumer engagement; and openness to all feedback provided. Conclusion: Co-designing research with consumers enabled the outcome to be feasible for implementation, without any modifications required. Ensuring relevance and consumer-centredness for the expanding palliative care evidence base is essential and can only be achieved through meaningful partnerships with consumer representatives.
Henderson, A, Vaz, H & Virdun, C 2018, 'Identifying and assessing the needs of carers of patients with palliative care needs: An exploratory study', International Journal of Palliative Nursing, vol. 24, no. 10, pp. 503-509.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 MA Healthcare Ltd. Background: Carers of patients with palliative care needs require careful assessment and support to undertake their role effectively. The carer component of palliative care is embedded in complex situations that necessarily focus on the patient. Aims: To explore experiences of specialist palliative care nurses in identifying, assessing and planning care to support those looking after patients with palliative care needs. Results: Findings identified gaps in identifying carers and their role, and in assessing carers' needs. Conclusions: This study confirmed the complexity in assessing carers' needs within the palliative care context, that practice gaps exist and positive outcomes result when routine processes were adopted. Future research should explore how to systematically make improvements in supporting carers in all palliative care contexts, including specialist and non-specialist settings.
Virdun, C, Luckett, T, Lorenz, KA & Phillips, J 2018, 'National quality indicators and policies from 15 countries leading in adult end-of-life care: a systematic environmental scan', BMJ SUPPORTIVE & PALLIATIVE CARE, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 145-154.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Power, TJ, Virdun, C, Gorman, E, Doab, A, Smith, R, Phillips, A & Gray, J 2018, 'Ensuring Indigenous cultural respect in Australian undergraduate nursing students', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 837-851.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Similar to other Westernised countries, Australia's history of colonisation, racism and oppression has impacted upon Indigenous Peoples' health and wellbeing. It is also evident that institutional racism and ongoing colonisation are present in the Australian health system. Better preparation of health professionals to work in a culturally respectful way can contribute to addressing health disparities and prejudices. One approach to enabling the development of cultural respect, is through embedding an Indigenous Graduate Attribute (IGA) across curricula and ensuring the process is thoughtfully developed and assessed. This paper describes and discusses the process of developing an Assessment Criteria Template (ACT) to assess Indigenous cultural respect in an undergraduate nursing degree program. Critical to the project was meaningful engagement with Indigenous stakeholders and Indigenous leadership to inform the development and implementation process. Although the context will vary globally due to the diversity of Indigenous Peoples and each country's history of colonisation, by publishing this work, we intend to provide transparency into the process we undertook to embed and assess an IGA ACT in an undergraduate nursing curriculum. We hope this is helpful for other tertiary institutions internationally who are also engaging in this space.
Virdun, C, Luckett, T, Lorenz, K, Davidson, PM & Phillips, J 2017, 'Analyzing Consumer Priorities for Hospital End-of-Life Care Using a Systematic Review to Inform Policy and Practice', SAGE Research Methods Cases.View/Download from: Publisher's site
A systematic review is a useful method to answer a research question where prior studies have been conducted. A
well-designed and executed systematic review can inform policy and/or practice change. It can also identify gaps
and generate new research questions. Although the requirements considered essential for conducting a rigorous
systematic review are well defined in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
statement, the approaches taken to synthesize the data vary. This case study describes the narrative synthesis of
heterogeneous quantitative studies and the meta-synthesis of qualitative studies used to answer a complex
research question from the consumer perspective. The study design focused on the analysis of consumer data
only. As a result, the synthesis of both quantitative data and qualitative data has provided a detailed insight into
consumers' unique perspectives and needs. The synthesis approach for both datasets is described, and linkages
to key tools and resources to help facilitate this approach are provided. Processes used by the research team to
enable effective research governance and collaboration throughout are also detailed.
Virdun, C, Luckett, T, Lorenz, K, Davidson, PM & Phillips, J 2017, 'Dying in the hospital setting: A meta-synthesis identifying the elements of end-of-life care that patients and their families describe as being important.', Palliative medicine, vol. 31, no. 7, pp. 587-601.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Despite most expected deaths occurring in hospital, optimal end-of-life care is not available for all in this setting.To gain a richer and deeper understanding of elements of end-of-life care that consumers consider most important within the hospital setting.A meta-synthesis.A systematic search of Academic Search Complete, AMED, CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed, Google, Google Scholar and CareSearch for qualitative studies published between 1990 and April 2015 reporting statements by consumers regarding important elements of end-of-life hospital care. Study quality was appraised by two independent researchers using an established checklist. A three-stage synthesis approach focusing on consumer quotes, rather than primary author themes, was adopted for this review.Of 1922 articles, 16 met the inclusion criteria providing patient and family data for analysis. Synthesis yielded 7 patient and 10 family themes including 6 common themes: (1) expert care, (2) effective communication and shared decision-making, (3) respectful and compassionate care, (4) adequate environment for care, (5) family involvement and (6) financial affairs. Maintenance of sense of self was the additional patient theme, while the four additional family themes were as follows: (1) maintenance of patient safety, (2) preparation for death, (3) care extending to the family after patient death and (4) enabling patient choice at the end of life.Consumer narratives help to provide a clearer direction as to what is important for hospital end-of-life care. Systems are needed to enable optimal end-of-life care, in accordance with consumer priorities, and embedded into routine hospital care.
Power, T, Virdun, C, Sherwood, J, Parker, N, Van Balen, J, Gray, J & Jackson, D 2016, 'REM: A Collaborative Framework for Building Indigenous Cultural Competence', JOURNAL OF TRANSCULTURAL NURSING, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 439-446.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Power, T, Virdun, C, White, H, Hayes, C, Parker, N, Kelly, M, Disler, R & Cottle, A 2016, 'Plastic with personality: Increasing student engagement with manikins.', Nurse education today, vol. 38, pp. 126-131.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Simulation allows students to practice key psychomotor skills and gain technical proficiency, fostering the development of clinical reasoning and student confidence in a low risk environment. Manikins are a valuable learning tool; yet there is a distinct lack of empirical research investigating how to enhance engagement between nursing students and manikins.To describe student perspectives of a layered, technology enhanced approach to improve the simulation learning experience.Tanner's Model of Clinical Judgment underpins the entire curriculum. This study additionally drew on the principles of narrative pedagogy.Across ten teaching weeks, five separate case studies were introduced to students through short vignettes. Students viewed the vignettes prior to their laboratory class. In the labs, manikins were dressed in the props used in the vignettes.The innovation was trialed in a second year core subject of a Bachelor of Nursing program in a large urban university in the autumn semester of 2014.Following ethics approval, students were emailed a participant information sheet. A focus group of nine students was held. The discussion was digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim prior to being subject to thematic analysis. Students' comments (143) about the vignettes in their standard subject specific student feedback surveys were also considered as data.Four themes were identified: Getting past the plastic; knowing what to say; connecting and caring; and, embracing diversity. The feedback indicated that these measures increased students ability to suspend disbelief, feel connected to, and approach the manikins in a more understanding and empathetic fashion.In addition to achieving increased engagement with manikins, other advantages such as students reflecting on their own values and pre-conceived notions of people from diverse backgrounds were realized.
Virdun, C & Phillips, J 2015, 'Commentary on Jack B, Baldry C, Groves K, Whelan A, Sephton J and Gaunt K (2013) Supporting home care for the dying: an evaluation of healthcare professionals' perspectives of an individually tailored hospice at home service. Journal of Clinical Nursing 22, 2778-2786', JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NURSING, vol. 24, no. 7-8, pp. 1147-1148.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Virdun, C, Brown, N, Phillips, JL, Luckett, T, Agar, M, Green, AR & Davidson, PM 2015, 'Elements of optimal paediatric palliative care for children and young people: An integrative review using a systematic approach', Collegian, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 421-431.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Background: Models of palliative care need to address the unmet needs of children, youngpeople and families.Objective: To undertake an integrative review to identify the key elements of optimal paediatric palliative care from the perspectives of children and young people with palliative care needs and their parents.
Virdun, C, Luckett, T, Davidson, PM & Phillips, J 2015, 'Dying in the hospital setting: A systematic review of quantitative studies identifying the elements of end-of-life care that patients and their families rank as being most important.', Palliative Medicine, vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 774-796.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND: The majority of expected deaths occur in hospitals where optimal end-of-life care is not yet fully realised, as evidenced by recent reviews outlining experience of care. Better understanding what patients and their families consider to be the most important elements of inpatient end-of-life care is crucial to addressing this gap. AIM AND DESIGN: This systematic review aimed to ascertain the five most important elements of inpatient end-of-life care as identified by patients with palliative care needs and their families. DATA SOURCES: Nine electronic databases from 1990 to 2014 were searched along with key internet search engines and handsearching of included article reference lists. Quality of included studies was appraised by two researchers. RESULTS: Of 1859 articles, 8 met the inclusion criteria generating data from 1141 patients and 3117 families. Synthesis of the top five elements identified four common end-of-life care domains considered important to both patients and their families, namely, (1) effective communication and shared decision making, (2) expert care, (3) respectful and compassionate care and (4) trust and confidence in clinicians. The final domains differed with financial affairs being important to families, while an adequate environment for care and minimising burden both being important to patients. CONCLUSION: This review adds to what has been known for over two decades in relation to patient and family priorities for end-of-life care within the hospital setting. The challenge for health care services is to act on this evidence, reconfigure care systems accordingly and ensure universal access to optimal end-of-life care within hospitals.
Luckett, T, Phillips, JL, Agar, M, Virdun, C, Green, AR & Davidson, PM 2014, 'Elements of effective palliative care models: a rapid review', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 14, pp. 1-22.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Background: Population ageing, changes to the profiles of life-limiting illnesses and evolving societal attitudes prompt a critical evaluation of models of palliative care. We set out to identify evidence-based models of palliative care to inform policy reform in Australia.
Virdun, C, Gray, JE, Sherwood, J, Power, TJ, Phillips, AB, Parker, NJ & Jackson, DE 2013, 'Working together to make Indigenous health care curricula everybody's business: a graduate attribute teaching innovation report', Contemporary Nurse, vol. 46, no. Special Issue, pp. 97-104.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Previously there has been commitment to the idea that Indigenous curricula should be taught by Indigenous academic staff, whereas now there is increasing recognition of the need for all academic staff to have confidence in enabling Indigenous cultural competency for nursing and other health professional students. In this way, Indigenous content can be threaded throughout a curriculum and raised in many teaching and learning situations, rather than being siloed into particular subjects and with particular staff. There are many sensitivities around this change, with potential implications for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and staff, and for the quality of teaching and learning experiences. This papers reports on a collaborative process that was used to reconceptualise how Indigenous health care curricula would be positioned throughout a program and who would or could work with students in this area. Effective leadership, establishing a truly collaborative environment, acknowledging fears and perceived inadequacies, and creating safe spaces for sharing and learning were crucial in effecting this change.
Phillips, JL, Virdun, C, Bhattarai, P & Fraser, C 2019, 'Nursing and Palliative Care' in Textbook of Palliative Care, Springer International Publishing, pp. 541-555.View/Download from: Publisher's site
DiGiacomo, M, Kochovska, S, Cahill, P, Virdun, C & Phillips, JL 2019, 'Family-Focused Care Span' in Textbook of Palliative Care, Springer International Publishing, pp. 779-797.View/Download from: Publisher's site
DiGiacomo, M, Kochovska, S, Cahill, P, Virdun, C & Phillips, J 2018, 'Family-Focused Care Span' in Textbook of Palliative Care, Springer International Publishing, pp. 1-19.View/Download from: Publisher's site
DiGiacomo, M, Kochovska, S, Cahill, P, Virdun, C & Phillips, J 2018, 'Family-focused care span' in MacLeod, R & Van den Block, L (eds), Textbook of Palliative Care, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018.View/Download from: Publisher's site
A family-focused care approach in palliative
care recognizes the fundamental role of families
in contributing to the care of people with
life-limiting conditions. It is essential that
healthcare providers develop understanding
of families' needs and the skills to collaborate
effectively with families caring for people at
the end of their lives. This chapter introduces
the concept and components of family-focused
palliative care. It continues with a discussion
of what patients and families perceive to be
the most important aspects of end-of-life care.
This chapter provides information to assist
healthcare providers who work with people
with life-limiting conditions and their families
in providing family-focused care and to
identify gaps and challenges to providing
Virdun, C Claudia Giugni 2010, The Building Rural Research Capacity Program Final Report, pp. 1-50, Sydney, Australia.
As our population ages Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) are caring for an older, frailer population of people with often complex co-morbid conditions. The care of this group is unique and challenging, often managed by a team that predominately consists of assistant nurses. How to ensure equitable access to excellence in palliative care remains a challenge with the Department of Health and Ageing starting to address this through releasing Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (2006). Adopting these guidelines however is pivotal to their success and this study looked to investigate how best to integrate the palliative approach to care into rural RACFs through comparing two teaching methods (in-servicing and case conferencing). The report covers a 12 month program of in-services and case conferences across five RACFs in the Central West of NSW. This study demonstrates that case conferencing was more effective than in-servicing in relation to: Increasing and enabling clinically appropriate referrals to specialist Palliative Care services; Increasing the understanding of the role of the specialist Palliative Care team; Creating practice changes; and Increasing communication between team members