Head of School, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

Head of School, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

By Professor Mary Courtney

Congratulations are in order for major achievements in the School during 2013:

Highlights of 2013

  • Annabel Pike (BN student Brisbane Campus) was awarded ”2013 Australian Graduate Nurse of the Year”.  Annabel is currently employed at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane.  Acknowledgement of Annabel’s achievement is a wonderful validation of the quality of teaching being undertaken within our BN course. Well done team!
  • Karen-Leigh Edward was nominated and chosen as one of the top 5 Inspirational Nurses for 2013 in the recent Australian wide Nursing Review survey poll.
  • Karen Downes (Senior Lab Tech) SONMP Qld, has been invited and will be funded by Laerdal to present and facilitate workshops at two Conferences (Gold Coast 13 May and New Zealand later in 2014).  The Workshops overview Sim Pad Medium Fidelity programs (Australian content) that Karen wrote and the project team converted for Laerdal’s Simstore content.  This will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase both ACU and the scenarios that were produced by Karen and the team last year.
  • $115,000 funding was received in September from the ACT Region Integrated Clinical Training Network (ICTN) for the purpose of creating clinical placement opportunities within the emergency maternity and perioperative settings for Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine students. ACU (Canberra) will be the first University within Australia to provide undergraduate BN/BP students within maternity placements. The project led by Dr. Elaine Jefford will be undertaken in collaboration with Calvary John James Healthcare and ACT Ambulance Services (ACTAS).


  • Colleen Doyle and team (David Jackson; Mary Courtney; Jenneke Foottit and Rosemary Ford) were successful in their ACU Research Support Team (RST) application entitled “Building research capacity in vascular dementia and telehealth” and were awarded $15,000.
  • John Rosenberg was appointed an Adjunct Associate Professor to the School of Nursing, Midwifery and  Indigenous Studies at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.
  • John Rosenberg was awarded $14,000 to support his Faculty Research Grant application entitled: “Building Community and Professional Capacity at the End of life: a synthesis of qualitative themes.”
  • Anne Gardner and team (Brett Mitchell;  Wendy Beckingham; and Oyebola Fasugba) were awarded $9,997 to support their Faculty Research Grant application entitled: “A point prevalence survey of healthcare associated urinary tract infections in a medium sized hospital.”
  • Roger Lord and team (Paul Fulbrook; Sandra Miles; Damian Williams (The Prince Charles Hospital TPCH); Ewan Kinnear (TPCH), Jeff Rowland (TPCH)) were awarded $10,000 to support their Faculty Research Grant application entitled: “A double blind trial of the application of Rectogesis Ointment (0.2% glyceryl trinitrate) for the healing of chronic venous leg ulcers”
  • Nancy Low Choy and team (Sandy Middleton; Janet Hiller; Mary Courtney; Michael Cole; Kade Paterson; Simone Dorch; and Asmara Jammali-Blasi) were awarded $17,996 to support their Faculty Research Grant application entitled “Feasibility of a survivorship study: follow-up of a cohort of stroke patients.”
  • Martin Raab, SoNMP ACT successfully completed the Master of Paramedical Science. 
  • Joe Perry, SoNMP (Vic) and approximately 40 nursing and paramedicine student volunteers attended the Phillip Island motorcycle race weekend (23 & 24 Feb 13) and a similar number have volunteered for the Melbourne Grand Prix in late March 2013. Sarah Cohen from University Marketing and External Relations also attended Phillip Island.
  • Peter Le Rossignol and team (Keith Skelton; Robin Fisher; Matthew Sweeney; Tanya Ubergang; and Cameron Wilson) were awarded $49,749 from HEPPP funding to support their project entitled “PASS for First Year Biology/Biomechanics Students’.”
  • Karen-leigh Edward, Director/Chair – Nursing Research Unit at St Vincent’s Private Hospital (Melbourne) launched her new book “Psychopharmacology – Practice and Contexts” on 17 May 2013. http://www.oup.com.au/titles/higher_ed/health_sciences/9780195519631


  • Elaine Jefford has had her article entitled “Post-structural feminist interpretive interactionism” accepted for future issue in “Nurse Researcher”.  This is a very highly important and prestigious nursing journal. 
  • Cherisse Buzzacott (Away from Base BMid student) was awarded the Inaugural Felicity Bundock Scholarship.
  • Lay Lay Moo (BN student Brisbane Campus) was awarded the Catherine McAuley Scholarship.
  • Shane Lenson and Martin Raab (ACT Paramedic team) organised a very successful paramedicine emergency response event in Canberra.  This event received significant media coverage.  Well done to the Canberra Paramedic team.


  • Sandy Middleton and collaborators at UNSW were awarded the MJA Prize ($4,000) for Research Excellence for their NHMRC funded research for COPD project outcomes paper in June 2013. 
  • Jane Morrow, National Course Coordinator for Midwifery, Melbourne Campus, was awarded her PhD. 
  • Genevieve Radnan, BN student North Sydney Campus, who initiated a charity program in Africa was featured on the television series Models of Achievement which aired on Channel 44 in August.
  • ACU hosted the annual Student Paramedics Australasia (SPA) Conference in Melbourne in August. This event was well organised by the students and 284 delegates attended. All of these delegates were current undergraduate and postgraduate paramedicine students from various programs across Australia and NZ. Several organisations sponsored the event including Ambulance Victoria, St John Ambulance, Edith Cowen University (ECU) and Charles Sturt University (CSU). Both ECU and CSU had organised for several members of staff to travel from interstate to promote their postgraduate programs to students. From ACU, Georgia Clarkson attended the event and got a number of expressions of interest from students for 2015 commencement. On this basis it would be worth considering promoting our programs at these events in the future (they are held annually).

Student Completions 2013

  • Michelle Kelly, Masters by Research (Midwifery): . 'A Prospective Study of Long Term Breastfeeding Rates of Women in a Tertiary Facility Prior to Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Accreditation', Principal Supervisor: Prof Sue Kildea, Co-Supervisor: Dr Jennifer Kelly, ACU.

Michelle Kelly Graduation, Masters by Research, Midwifery

Michelle Kelly Graduation, Masters by Research (Midwifery)
(L-R, Dr Helen Stapleton, Ms Michelle Kelly and Prof Sue Kildea)

  • Dr Nigel Lee has been awarded his PhD which examined the use of 1 injection vs 4 in Streile Water Injections (SWI). A testament to his dedication and a validation of his commitment to forwarding the field of midwifery and use of sterile water injections.  He has also received the very prestigious Award for Research and Innovation in Midwifery by the Australian College of Midwives for 2013. Congratulations, Nigel, on your well-deserved award.

Prof Sue Kildea and Dr Nigel Lee at the Australian College of Midwives Gala Dinner

Prof Sue Kildea and Dr Nigel Lee at the Australian College of Midwives Gala Dinner


  • ICARIS Trial (Impact on Caesarean section rates following injections of sterile water (ICARIS)

In April this year, the ICARIS team appeared on the Channel 9 news to promote the ICARIS trial and to raise the profile of Sterile Water injections for back pain during labour. The story has received positive feedback from midwives and health professionals.

A number of  large Australian hospital sites have recently joined the ICARIS trial and we will be starting recruitment shortly. It is expected that the ICARIS trial will make a significant contribution to the evidence base for SWI as a safe alternative for the relief of back pain in labour, which may also assist in reducing rates of CS.

  • The Queensland Flood Study (QF2011) 

We have completed the 16 months assessments and the PhaseII-30 months face to face developmental assessments are now underway in our new purpose designed room with audio visual facilities. We hope to collect data on 150 two and a half year old children and also their mothers who were pregnant in the January 2011 QLD floods.


Professor Mary Courtney

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