• drannetta

Why take end of life training?

Yesterday I had a QandA session with students from my training course scheduled, and an invited visitor asked a really important question - what are the expected outcomes? - and I want to share my answers with you.

For Gentle Readers who aren't familiar with the QandA sessions, these are offered two or three times a month to students as part of in the GDEP online training course. Online studies can feel isolating, and the sessions encourage students to meet each other, ask me questions in person, and gain clarification of any aspect of end of life work or the course that they need to.

Sometimes I open up a QandA to prospective students, and a palliative care nurse who is looking around for a course to suit her had called me earlier this week - sitting in on the session is a good way to find out if my teaching style and level of knowledge is a good fit for you. And this interesting and very experienced nurse asked me a very good question:

What are the expected outcomes of your course?

I wasn't expecting the question at that time, so my answer wasn't as polished as I might like, but essentially what I responded with is as follows. If you were wondering why studying end of life matters when the field is unregulated, here are my training course aims, with an expectation that all students will be confident in not only the component learnings, but in their own sense of professional practice, knowledge, and boundaries.

  • At the end of the training students have a thorough understanding of the seven non-medical end of life roles, and know which role or roles they are comfortable occupying in the course of their own end of life work

  • All students will be well versed in death literacy, Australian and international best practice standards across the spectrum of end of life work, and able to offer their clients and communities well-rounded and comprehensive information which will help people to make well-informed, appropriate decisions for end of life care, quality of life at end of life, advance planning, legacy, and funeral and body disposal

  • Students will be culturally competent and well-informed enough to not discriminate, act out of unconscious bias, or act in a blindly prejudiced way with clients. The GDEP training includes extensive discussion of minority community populations including, but not limited to, LGBTIQA+, migrants, people with disabilities, people who are neuro-diverse, ethnic and cultural minorities, kinksters, sex-positive people, polyamorous persons and relationships, pet owners and those with a diversity of family structures

  • All students understand that GDEP training, and all expert contributors - including myself - work solely within the relevant federal, state, and territory/local laws and regulations as they pertain to end of life and after-death protocols

  • All students understand the importance and centrality of public health practices in general, and end of life in particular

  • All content in the course is evidence-based, and is supported by peer-reviewed articles, information and recommended readings; students are expected to develop keen critical thinking skills as a result of undertaking this training

  • Practitioner self-care, good professional practice, and professional comportment in language and action is non-negotiable and built into the course content from the beginning

  • All students understand that just as clients can say 'no' and make choices, practitioners can have choice and agency in an end of life working context and are able to say 'no' when appropriate. In addition students comprehend the value of ongoing self-reflection and self-understanding, and that regular debriefing and/or supervision is essential to best practice in order to avoid burnout and being exploited and to foster professional development.

A picture of Dr Annetta Mallon and her dog Cully sitting outside under a tree. Annetta is a woman with white curly hair, a colourful scarf around her neck and a big smile. Cully is an incredibly handsome Malamute X Shepherd dog. Both look very happy.
Want to know more about the training course? All questions are good questions, so please ask!

If you have questions about the training course, or if you would like to attend a QandA session please email me at and I will arrange to fit you in when it suits your schedule. Please understand that visitor places are limited, but you are most welcome - students like hearing from a diversity of personal experience, including what makes another person interested in learning more about end of life and how best to support our community members.

If you would like to enrol, go to and follow the payment prompts at the top of the page. There is a limited-time discount right now, the full course (all four core Tiers and two Masterclasses of your choice) for only 3,300AUD, a saving of $2,200 as the course is normally priced at $5,500. All prices are in Australian dollars and include GST.

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