8 December 2022

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Silva shines Lantern light on palliative care in Lebanon

Lantern Model Programme has inspired clinical instructor in Beirut to transform the way she teaches nurses

Silva Lantern Model

Silva Dakessian Sailian is something of an outlier when it comes to the Lantern Model Programme. Silva does not work as a nurse in palliative. In her hands though she holds the keys to the future of palliative care nursing in Lebanon as Clinical Instructor at the Hariri School of Nursing at American University of Beirut.

With added inspiration from the Lantern Model Programme, that future looks bright, as Silva is changing both the content of the curriculum and the tone of the teaching.

Silva says: “So many times nurses are just taken for granted here. They could in theory be replaced by robots if nursing really was just about giving medication. But it is about much more than that – it’s about the human connection. That’s what attracted me to the Lantern Model Programme – to its revolutionary approach which says that nurses really do count and that they really need to speak up, hold their heads up and believe in themselves.”

Silva joined the programme, created to empower nurses to be the nurses they’ve always wanted to be and deliver the very best care, having attended the Fellowship programme. She’d joined that when looking to broaden her palliative care horizons when working on her PhD at Lancaster University, Understanding Dignity of Patients with palliative care needs: Patients and Family Caregivers’ Perspective.

“The most powerful messages I have taken away from the programme is that nurses have to dare to challenge and to lead,”

After almost 20 years teaching nurses, the Lantern Model Programme has inspired Silva to create a palliative care course for graduate nurse students, and to rethink her approach.

“Up to now, there’s been a very paternalistic approach to health care in Lebanon – the physician knows best. We don’t plant the seeds of leadership in our teaching. That is what I am going to change now.

“The nursing courses here currently don’t impart the spirit that nurses can actually lead a hospital, a project, a movement, and be agents of change. From now on, when a student comes out of the classroom, we need them to be transformed – instilled with the self-belief that they can lead. I’m not looking to cut off the doctors’ wings, but we have to be equal partners.” 

As well as the emphasis of empowering nurses, Silva has also enjoyed the sense of community being a part of the Lantern Model Programme.

“I love sharing information and hearing how others think, practise and go about different actions and how similar we are with many of the same challenges. It’s fantastic to be part of a like-minded community and talking so openly and explicitly about death and dying and nurses’ role in it.”

Find out more about the Lantern Model Programme here.

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