Nursing and Midwifery

Listed below are a selection of research projects currently active within ISLHD.

Catling C, Mou H, White L, Rifaie A, Farrell K, Hay A, Clair D, Phipps H, Dunphy C, De Vroome M, Bulmer M, Rehayem A, Reid F, Group Clinical Supervision for midwives in Sydney.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: University of Technology Sydney, Auburn Hospital, Blacktown Hospital, Bankstown Hospital, Campbelltown Hospital, Fairfield Hospital, Liverpool Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Canterbury Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, St George Hospital, Sutherland Hospital.

This study is a cluster randomised controlled trial. It will recruit 12 maternity sites in Greater Sydney, six of which will have the intervention of monthly Clinical Supervision (CS) sessions for midwives, and six will not. The CS sessions will span 18 months - 2 years, and data will be collected on midwives burnout levels, their perceptions of workplace culture and their intentions to remain in their job/profession. Data will also be collected from all sites in relation to how many midwives exit the organisati


Cummins L, Wilson V, Meedya S, Schioler M, AD-MIRE Breastfeeding.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: University of Wollongong.

AD-MIRE: Antenatal Diabetes- Mothers Improving Rates Exclusive Breastfeeding. This is a person-centred study working with women with GDM and staff at Wollongong Hospital to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates on discharge from hospital for this cohort.


Edgar D, Fitzpatrick S, Carswell C, Allen A, Rowntree K, Woods E, Carrie A, Roby J, Wheaton A, Nicholls J, Knowles L, A Mission to Enhance the Provision of Clinical Supervision.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.

Whilst there is shared recognition of the benefits of clinical supervision across allied health and nursing professions, there are also differences in professional requirements and local implementation across each group, particularly those who require AHPRA registration. This research aims to complement the work already being conducted by both professional groups to enhance the effectiveness of clinical supervision.


Higgs M, Frost S, Cash K, Morgan S, Getting to know youR pAtient for safe individualised CarE: the GRACE project.
Locations: Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.
External Partners: South Western Sydney Local Health District.

The implementation of standardised risk assessment tools has led to task orientated nursing. This task oriented, siloed approach to risk assessment has removed the need for nurses to comprehensively assess patients and critically analyse the results to develop individualised, comprehensive care plans. The ‘Getting to know youR pAtient for safe individualised CarE’ (GRACE) project is designed to align nursing admission assessment processes with the National Safety and Quality Health Service comprehensive care standard (standard 5, 2nd edition).  This will be achieved through the development of a framework, that will be trialled, to guide the conduct of consistent comprehensive admission assessment processes that are conducted in partnership patients and patients’ families/carers, incorporate important components of risk screening, and inform the development of individualised care plans that are in-line with the patients’ values and priorities and designed to mitigate identified risk.


Kittscha J, Lawrie S, Investigating the experiences of adults following stoma surgery who are given a companion bear (Teddy Bear Study).
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.

This study will bring new evidence about the use of ostomy companion bears for adults having stoma surgery. The stomal therapy service at Wollongong Hospital offers ostomy companion bears to all adults having stoma surgery. The bears have been specially made with a fake stoma and stoma bag (ostomy companion bears). We have noticed that the recipients gained comfort from this and report that it helped them talk about their stoma with their family. There are no published studies in the literature about the use of ostomy companion bears with adults or children having stoma surgery although anecdotally knowledge of their use exists.


Moroney T, Wilson V, Edgar D, The facilitation of person-centred practice through the provision of group clinical supervision informed by The Person-centred Practice Framework.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
External Partners: University of Wollongong.

This project will design, implement and evaluate a group clinical supervision (CS) program guided by The Person-Centred Practice Framework (PCPF), which supports organisations and individuals to understand and work in person-centred ways.  Eight clinical supervisors will be trained to individually support a group of supervisees (nursing and midwifery staff) to reflect on their practice at monthly sessions.  The PCPF will be used to inform the supervisors training program, as well as to assist the supervisees to 'name' their clinical issue, find solutions and evaluate outcomes. 


Roche M, Wilson V, Eason M, Joyce M, O'Connor M, Strengthening the safety culture of acute mental health in-patient units.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Mental Health Services.
External Partners: University of Technology Sydney, Justice Health, Northern Sydney Local Health District.

This study aims to identify, develop, implement and evaluate strategies that strengthen the safety culture of mental health inpatient units. The data obtained will be used to guide improvements in practice, and then to assess changes made.


Stulz V, Reid F, Does using a peanut ball during labour with an epidural affect birth outcomes? A pilot study.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: Western Sydney University, Nepean Hospital.


Whiteing N, Miners K, Dwyer S, Paloff A, Cash K, A New South Wales (NSW) Hospital Acquired Pressure Injury Prevention and Management Toolkit: a mixed method study.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
External Partners: Northern NSW Local Health District.

Hospital acquired pressure injuries are preventable adverse events that significantly impact patients, family, staff and health care organisations. The aim of the study is to evaluate the implementation of a Hospital Acquired Pressure Injury (HAPI) toolkit, to support preventative interventions and management strategies across selected facilities in New South Wales (NSW).


Wilson V, Edgar D, Action Learning Sets: Supporting Nurse Leaders Capacity to Enhance the Nursing and Midwifery Research Culture - An International Comparative Case Study.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.

This project will use action learning sets (a form of group learning) to explore if they can support nurse managers to enhance nursing and midwifery research activity within their respective units.  Research activity includes finding ways that staff can use more evidence in practice and also encourage more nurses and midwives to engage in research to evaluate and enhance good practice.  The research is collaborative with a similar nursing and midwifery research unit in Denmark.


Wilson V, Kittscha J, Bliokas V, Fairbrother G, Psychological Adjustment after Stoma Formation.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: University of Wollongong, University of Sydney, SLHD.

Stoma surgery involves a surgical procedure to bring a portion of intestines onto the outside of a person’s abdomen for the passage of urine or faeces. This renders them incontinent with the necessity to wear a stoma bag to collect their waste. It is confronting and disruptive to the person’s daily living, as physical and psychological adjustments need to be made. This study aims to identify important strategies that people having stoma surgery require to facilitate adjustment, and also investigate participants experiences of attending one support strategy currently in place (the Illawarra Ostomy Information Group), whether this contributed to their adjustment to living with a stoma and if so, how. 


Wilson V, Traynor V, Lapkin S, Coyle M, ‘Specialling' activities for older people in hospital: an ethnographic study.
Locations: Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.
External Partners: University of Wollongong.

When in hospital, older people are at increased risk of adverse health outcomes, such as longer lengths of hospital stay, falls and delirium (acute confusion).  Nursing staff will commonly implement the use of 'specials' to reduce safety risks.  'Specialling' involves the use of additional staff to provide one-to-one care.  At times a 'special' may support a small group of people (up to four).  There is little evidence supporting the activity which is costly and lacks guidelines.  Ethnography provides cultural description and a means to understand staff beliefs.  Non-participant observation and semi-structured interviews will be used with an emphasis on key staff who influence and participate in 'specialling' activities.


Wilson V, Riley K, Middleton R, Molloy L, Uncovering the resuscitative practices and experiences of rural nurses in Australia: An ethnographic study.
Locations: Milton Ulladulla Hospital.
External Partners: University of Wollongong.

This research will aim to uncover the resuscitation practices and experiences of rural nurses using a range of research methods such aa observation, interview, document analysis and journaling. An ethnographic approach will help to describe the rural nursing culture surrounding resuscitation.


Wilson V, Dawes E, Hewitt L, Bliokas V, A mixed methods enquiry into considerations of patients' cognitive capacity in clinicians' decisions when prescribing lower limb prosthetic rehabilitation.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
External Partners: The University of Wollongong.

This project is to investigate the perceptions of the role of cognition in amputee rehabilitation from a variety of multidsiciplinary team members, and to then establish, with the same multidsciplinary team members, a pathway for the assessment of cognition in amputee patients that will meet the minimum care standards. 

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