Susan Morris’s voluntary “trail-blazing” work with the Natural Death movement has earned her The Welch Allyn UK Pioneers of Care Award for Nursing 2012.
The palliative care nurse, used her 20 years in nursing to further help others. Once her working day was over she then went on to volunteer for the charity Natural Death Centre, informing and educating the public about choices available to themselves and their carers.
She is a trustee of the charity which offers free impartial advice to the general public on all aspect of death and dying and in particular consumer advice on funerals and natural burial grounds.
Susan said: “People who are dying are often perceived as a vulnerable group, but in palliative care and through the charity work, we work to change that, and give people real choices to have honest, informed conversations about death.”
Susan is completing her MSc Death and Society at the University of Bath. She said: “This innovative degree course has nurtured my ideas and thinking outside of the box of my traditional role as a palliative care clinical nurse specialist, Camden Provider Services Palliative Care Team. The MSc is a catalyst to formalise my ideas and practise further on a public health approach to dying to empower communities to care for their dying.”
Welch Allyn, which hosted the award, is a leading manufacturer of frontline medical diagnostic equipment and in the spirit of their innovative practise offered the winner an education bursary of £1,500 which Susan has donated to the Natural Death Centre charity to facilitate the continuation of its ground-breaking work on consumer choice towards the end of life.
The award was presented at the Florence Nightingale Museum, London; a fitting tribute to Susan’s pioneering work for the Natural Death Centre charity and its partner the Association of Natural Burial Grounds.
Susan is also one of the key authors of the The Natural Death Handbook (fifth edition) which will be launched on 4 July. It is available from the charity’s website
The Centre for Death & Society at the University of Bath is listed in the book.
Susan said: “It’s such an honour to be given this award which I hope will enable us to create more healthy discussion about death in our society.”