Congratulations: Professor Sheila Payne

9th October 2020

Congratulations to Professor Sheila Payne, who has been awarded the EAPC Cicely Saunders Research Award 2020. The award is sponsored by the EAPC and Cicely Saunders International in recognition of Professor Payne’s contribution to palliative care research.

The award was presented at the EAPC World Congress Online by Kate Kirk, trustee of Cicely Saunders International and niece of Dame Cicely Saunders.

In accepting the award Professor Payne reflected on her experience of meeting Dame Cicely Saunders as a young researcher, and seeing at first-hand Dame Cicely’s multi-professional approach as a trained nurse, social worker and physician.

As a nurse and health psychologist herself, Professor Payne has made multidisciplinary team-working the foundation of her research career. In her lecture she reflected on the importance of achieving and communicating a shared vision within teams. She discussed what that means in different contexts and cultures, and how building teams could be compared to growing and nurturing trees, with tree trunks seen as two-way support, branches as different disciplines and the tree’s leaves as individuals. Trees change and adapt, shed their leaves and renew them, and are resilient to many different environmental challenges, as teams must be.

In summary Professor Payne noted the importance in teams of

  • People – having the right skill mix for a balanced team, and including patients and families in teams;
  • Capacity building – for leaders, individuals in teams, and teams as a whole;
  • Being prepared for conflict and devoting time to resolving it;
  • Leadership – sharing the vision but also listening;
  • Maintaining and upholding professional values;
  • Adapting to societal, economic and political change and personnel change within the team itself.