For her research in the field of palliative medicine, Dr. Stephanie Stiel, research scientist in the Department of Palliative Medicine at the University Hospital Erlangen, has been awarded the Early Researcher Award of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC). At the 7th EAPC World Congress in Trondheim, Norway, she received her award as one of three laureates.
14 scientists and physicians from seven countries applied for the Early Researcher Award 2012. Dr. Stephanie Stiel prevailed over 12 of them. She took second place with the topic of her habilitation thesis: "Possibilities and limits of qualitative and quantitative assessments of severely ill and dying people". The prize is "a great honour" for the Aachen-born researcher.
"I have submitted all my research so far - my life's work, so to speak," says the 29-year-old. She has been working in palliative medicine for five years - first at the University Hospital of RWTH Aachen University, and for one and a half years in Erlangen. Stephanie Stiel develops, tests and validates palliative care test instruments. "These must be adapted to the needs of the ill person and, above all, take into account his/her ability to cope with stress." The aim of the validations is to reliably assess the intensity of symptoms in palliative patients in order to be able to coordinate treatments well. "The practitioner can classify the pain as moderate, while the patient himself perceives it as severe." Stephanie Stiel investigates how this discrepancy between the patient's self-assessment and the physician’s assessment can be eliminated.
Since 2009, the Early Researcher Award has been given to young scientists and doctors who make an outstanding contribution to palliative medical research and/or teaching. Why Stephanie Stiel's application was successful in her view: "I have been working in palliative medicine for five years and have continuously published research results internationally. Palliative medicine is a young field with a great need for research." And Stephanie Stiel took time for research: One hour to write a paper was not enough. It takes longer periods to immerse. Her publications appear in relevant journals such as Supportive Care in Cancer, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management or Journal of Palliative Medicine. She also fulfils the main criterion for being awarded the Early Researcher Award: At 29, Stephanie Stiel is still at the very beginning of her scientific career.