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Where theory meets practice

Academia and clinical practice unite at a newly launched institute that will allow nurses to take the lead in research.

The name may not easily roll of the tongue, but the St Vincent’s and Mater Health Sydney and Australian Catholic University National Nursing Research Institute (or the SV&MHS ACU NRI) promises to deliver big things.

Set to significantly impact the Australian healthcare landscape, the institute brings together those who think about, investigate and do the work of nurses.

Empowering nurses to lead multi-disciplinary research, the institute marks the start of a bright and vibrant future for nurse-led, clinically focused research that centres on patient outcomes, says the institutes director Professor Sandy Middleton.

“The formal launch of the institute highlights a robust culture of inquiry and innovation in nursing and patient care that is flourishing. The NRI marks a new beginning for the future of healthcare research at SV&MHS,” says Middleton.

“NRI will promote excellence in nursing and research, from conception through to conducting the research.”

The insitute will also address the lack of defined career path for nurse researchers.

“We are training nurses who are interested in research and want to develop a career this field. The aim is to expose nurses to research – to the practicalities and rigour required to undertake high-quality research.

“We are promoting and fostering the next generation of nursing research and moving away from conducting small quality projects to undertaking rigorous research to generate evidence that can be used in clinical practice.”

Since its inception in January 2008 the institute has already secured over $800,000 in research grants for 14 projects. In addition, in excess of 30 articles and abstracts have been published nationally and internationally.

Connecting clinicians across SV&MHS to research, the institute is leading patient-focussed research, in such areas as venous thromboembolism prevention, bowel management in intensive care and management of fever, raised blood sugar levels and swallowing difficulties in acute stroke patients.

Middleton said the institute is one of the largest nursing research-academia-industry partnerships in Australia, with 21 staff and students, plus part-time research assistants in the field.

“It’s about nursing research growing a larger profile. Often with competitive grant funding, projects are led by medicos, so we are trying to foster nurse-led, multi-disciplinary research.”

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