FOR PALLIATIVE care nurse co-ordinator Therese Smeal, the role is much more than a mere vocation.
"I think it's quite a privilege to be working with families who are facing a pretty tough time," she said.
"No one should die in pain, feeling uncomfortable and without dignity."
Ms Smeal, who works across the south-west, was recently chosen by Palliative Care NSW to receive a NSW Leadership In Palliative Care award.
She was selected in recognition of her years of commitment and dedicated hard work.
Ms Smeal said it was important to provide specialised care that was compassionate and supportive to patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families
She said there had been many changes to the industry since she started 25 years ago.
There was still a growing need for more staff, Ms Smeal said.
"What we need is more staff who can provide 24-hour care to people in their homes," she said.
"Palliative care nursing has now evolved and developed into a highly-skilled nursing practice that has become much more widely recognised and valued.
"Palliative care is starting to increase and the availability of services has grown."
Details: South Western Sydney district palliative care office, 9616 8656.