Nursing research hopes for better health

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thursday 26 May 2011: Tens of thousands of people could enjoy better health if Verena Schadewaldt realises her vision to empower nurses.

Ms Schadewaldt is undertaking a PhD investigating the best way to run health clinics staffed by nurses. The research, which is taking place at St Vincent’s Hospital and Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Centre for Nursing Research, will focus on better treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Passionate about nursing, Ms Schadewaldt enrolled in a postgraduate nursing degree in her home country Germany.

When she was provided the opportunity to complete an internship abroad, she decided to move to Australia.

Receiving research support from the Victorian Government, allowed Ms Schadewaldt to start a PhD in Australia.

“The Victorian International Research Scholarship came at just the right time – I am an international student, I want to do a PhD and I want to study in Melbourne – it was just perfect.”

Jim StynesVerena Schadewaldt was awarded the Victorian International Research Scholarship

Ms Schadewaldt has thrown her energies into researching nurse-led clinics, which deliver important health-related treatment in hospitals and general practices, working with patients on specialised therapies such as reducing cardiovascular disease, fighting obesity or quitting smoking.

“There is great variation in the effectiveness and patient attendance of nurse-led clinics.” Ms Schadewaldt said.

“These clinics are often set up for short-term health initiatives and then shut down and we don’t even know how many of them there are.”

With an aim to develop some best-practice guidelines to running effective nurse-led clinics, the research will provide an opportunity to make a significant practical contribution to improving health services delivery.

Principal supervisor Associate Professor Karen Page said the project will have a direct impact helping identify improved methods of treatment for people with cardiovascular disease. The project, which is likely to focus on Victorian nurse-led services, may have outcomes which could be applied around the world.

International students played a vital role in both bringing broader perspectives of the world and also taking away expertise to use in their home countries, explained Associate Professor Page. 

“Verena will bring more of a European approach to nursing. International students enable us to get more depth of experience in our research community.

“In Germany nurses aren’t trained in universities and when Verena gets back to Germany she will be one of the leading academic nurses in Germany.”