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Professor of Nursing Claire Rickard, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences

Academy of Health and Medical Sciences names first nurse fellow

Griffith University professor of nursing Claire Rickard has become the first nurse ever to be made a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

 Rickard is director of the Alliance for Vascular Access Teaching and Research (AVATAR), a research group that has done groundbreaking work with intravascular access. Its findings have made a difference in the everyday operations of hospitals around the world.

“The research we’re probably best known for internationally was […] looking at whether peripheral intravenous catheters could be safely left in place longer than three days,” Rickard explained.

The research showed there was no benefit to changing these IVs every three days, as had been done before: “All it did was double the number of procedures for patients, painful procedures. Of course, nursing time and hospital costs were also increased.”

As a former full-time RN, Rickard called a nurse’s point of view essential to any medical research – as evidenced by this famous project and many others.

“We have just as much to offer," Rickard said. "We know where improvements can often be made. We often know where savings can be made and processes improved in hospitals. [The research] is difficult, but it’s worth doing. In that way, nurses can show they not only see the problems, but they can also see the solutions.”

She was honoured to be the first nurse to become a fellow at the prestigious academy.

“I like to think that by me being admitted, all nurses who work in research will see that the academy and government do value the role of nurses in contributing to research.”

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