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Nursing researchers honoured at international congress

Three Australian nursing researchers were inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame last week for their contribution to the profession and its impact across the globe.

Among the recipients of this prestigious international accolade were Professor Patricia Davidson, director of the Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care at the University of Technology Sydney; Professor Helen Edwards, head of the Queensland University of Technology’s school of nursing; and Linda Shields, Professor of tropical health nursing at James Cook University.

Fourteen international nursing researchers were honoured on Thursday at a ceremony in Brisbane during STTI’s International Nursing Research Congress. They join 37 other nursing researchers who have been selected for the recognition since 2010.

Professor Helen Edwards, who is also the director of Queensland’s Dementia Training and Study Centre, said the award recognises the vital work nurses conduct in every area of our society.

Edwards was acknowledged for her commitment to studying the challenges of an ageing population and the importance of maintaining social bonds for good health.

Living alone has emerged as a key risk factor for a host of chronic diseases and unhealthy ageing.

She said the incidence of diabetes, dementia and chronic wounds was higher among solitary individuals.

“The lack of social interaction and the mental stimulation it brings could be part of the reason. But also it might be there is no one to notice that your health is deteriorating and urge you to see a doctor.

"When living alone you are less likely to eat properly, and it can be an effort to keep active if you don't have someone to coach and support you.”

New research is currently investigating the role of social media and the internet in keeping people connected as they age.

"Nurses are the health professionals at the coalface and we work in many settings from hospitals to homes, from adolescent mental health units to residential aged care," said Edwards.

She said nursing was a global occupation, with transferable skills that were highly sought after in many industries.

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