College of Healthcare Sciences CNMR Transforming The Workforce

Transforming the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce

Investigators: Melanie Birks, Helena Harrison, Ylona Chun Tie, Margaret Gatling, Clare Magee

This study aims to explore whether students who enter nursing programs via an English testing pathway are prepared for study, and to identify the challenges they face in academic and clinical environments.  The project is using a mixed methods design, involving a survey and interviews with nursing academics and student support staff, to develop a model that describes the support needs of this study cohort.

Project status: Application for funding under review

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Investigators: Melanie Birks, Jenny Davis, John Smithson

Academic dishonesty (including plagiarism, contract cheating, examination misconduct and professional misconduct) is a growing problem for universities. While academic dishonesty is a worrying trend in any professional group, it is of particular concern in the health professions. Nurses who are not adequately prepared for the complexity of the professional role are a potential risk to consumers of health services.  This body of work aims to explore the phenomenon of academic dishonesty amongst nursing students in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian phase of the study is complete, and indicates that nursing students are no less likely to cheat than students of other professions. Furthermore, the findings suggest that there is a relationship between academic and professional misconduct. The second phase of the study, to be undertaken in the New Zealand, is under development. This work has led to the implementation of a study of the management of academic misconduct in universities internationally.

Project status: Phase 1 complete, with finding published

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Investigators: Cate Nagle and Wendy Smyth

There is a shortage of mental health nurses across Australia and this is particularly evident in northern Australia.

This project will develop and evaluate an on-line education resource for health professionals who are not mental health nurses to improve their confidence to appropriately respond to individuals with mental health and/or drug and alcohol disorders.

Funded: 2018 SERTA grant

Status Ethics approval pending

Contact Cate Nagle

Investigators: Tracey Ahern & Narelle Biedermann

Aims: The aims of this study are to understand the learning and professional needs of nursing and midwifery educators teaching into exclusively online courses and to develop strategies to address the needs of this population.

Research questions:

  1. What are the experiences and needs of nursing and midwifery educators teaching into postgraduate courses offered entirely in an online mode?
  2. What strategies can be implemented to support nursing and midwifery educators who teach postgraduate courses offered entirely online?

Status Ethics approval pending

Contact Tracey Ahern or Narelle Biedermann

Investigators: Sue Kim, Tae Wha Lee, Gwang Suk Kim, Eunhee Cho, Yeonsoo Jang, Mona Choi, Seoyoung Baek, David Lindsay, Sally Chan, Regina L.T. Lee, Aimin Guo, Frances Wong, Doris Yu, Sek Ying Chair, Yoko Shimpuku, Sonoe Mashino, Gigi Lim, Sheila Bonito, Michele Rumsey, Amanda Neill, Indrajit Hazarika

Background: There is growing global recognition of the importance of health workers in promoting equitable access to quality health services. Nurses represent, by far, the largest proportion of the healthcare workforce, and nurses in advanced roles have evolved to provide high quality care. However, there lacks a common definition and legal description of these advanced roles. As such, there is limited empirical literature examining the scope of advanced nursing in various locations around the world.

Objectives: This study investigated the current responsibilities of nurses in advanced roles, future healthcare needs, and the implications of these components for the professional development of nurses.

Design: A mixed-methods design was employed, starting with a descriptive survey on the current status of nurses in advanced roles in the country, followed by a Delphi survey and exploratory interviews.

Settings: Survey responses were collected directly via email, or online via website. Interviews were conducted face-to-face and/or via telephone.

Participants: Countries within the World Health Organisation Western Pacific Region were targeted, and experts knowledgeable about nurses in advanced roles within these countries were invited to participate.

Status: In final stages. Report has been produced and manuscript in final stages of editing before submission to IJNS.


Investigators: Melanie Birks, Jenny Davis, John Smithson

Research on the concept of scope of practice is limited, serving to contribute to its nebulous nature. Scope of practice is enacted in different ways in the various professional contexts in which nurses work. Context specific factors are particularly significant. This study aims to explore the concept of scope of practice of nurses in Australia, including examining factors that impact on the ability of registered nurses to work within or expand their scope of practice. This study employed an online survey administered to registered nurses nationwide. Result indicate that factors that impact on scope of practice are varied. Geographical context, particularly regional, rural and remote locations, may place unique constraints on scope of practice that warrant consideration.

Project status: Phase 1 and 2 complete, with final publication under review

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Investigators Maude Chapman, Natalie Lloyd, Sue Evans & Cate Nagle

The emphasis on self-directed learning in the new Nursing and Midwifery curriculum, introduced at JCU in 2018, was expected to prepare students for their future careers in nursing and/or midwifery practice as well as facilitate students’ independence for life-long learning. The

The aim of this research aims to gain an understanding of staff and student readiness for self-directed learning (SDL) and their attitudes towards this method of education.

Project status: HREC pending

Contact: Maude Chapman

Investigators: David Lindsay, Tracey Ahern, Marie McAuliffe, Sally White, Elspeth Hillman

Background: Undergraduate nursing and midwifery students can obtain paid employment in public and private hospitals as a student in nursing (SIN) or a student in midwifery (SIM). There is no systematic data collection of students employed in these roles and little is known about the linkages between these roles and their learning within their respective University Course. Nothing has been reported regarding the overall knowledge development and skill acquisition, graduate outcomes achievement, post-graduation employability, and employment destination, in relation to these roles. This study will thus help to fill an existing gap in knowledge, and inform improvements to subjects within the BNSc and BNSc-BMid. The findings will potentially benefit students working in these roles

Investigators Sandra Dash, Penny Coogan, Melanie Birks, Cate Nagle, John Smithson, Dr Margaret Gatling

This study employed a descriptive exploratory design to review on-line images of nurses. The aim of this study is to explore the online depiction of the image of the nurse. Using the search engine Google and the search term “nurse” all images were collected on a single day; no filters were applied. A modification of Kalisch, Begeny and Newmann’s  2007 framework was used to code specific features of the images, including whether the subject appeared scientific, intelligent, respected or sexually promiscuous.

Project status: Data Analysis in progress

Contact: Sandra Dash