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Research role with patients in mind

Posted: 5am 04 Aug 2022

Redcliffe Hospital’s inaugural Senior Nursing Researcher, Amanda Fox, will combine her clinical experience with her passion for education and research in her new role.

The position has been created thanks to the generosity of supporters of last year’s Raise it for Redcliffe fundraising campaign.

The Associate Professor explained her role and the research projects already underway at Redcliffe Hospital during an event ahead of this year’s fundraiser.

Dr Fox spoke about how her career began, as a student nurse at the Royal Brisbane Hospital at the age of 17 years.

“I was one of the last nurses to be trained in the hospital setting and I quickly realised that if I wanted to keep up with my peers, I would need to get a bachelor degree. I was the first in my family to go to university and I remember trying to explain to my father why I was studying at uni to do a job that I already had,” she recalled.

|“But my education did much more than secure my job as a registered nurse, my study, and working at The Prince Charles Hospital, caring for patients and their families fuelled a strong desire to gain better understanding of how nursing care can improve patient wellbeing and to teach junior clinicians.|

“I undertook further study in health promotion and began facilitating university students in the hospital during their clinical practice.

“This continued throughout my 18 years of clinical nursing in neurosurgery, medical and surgical wards, coronary care, rehabilitation, community drug and alcohol. I moved further into the academic world where I taught undergraduate nursing students, sharing stories from personal experience to help bring to life what I knew about nursing care and the patient journey.”

Making a difference

Dr Fox is passionate about maximising nurses’ contribution to healthcare and her PhD examined the sustainability of Nurse Practitioner roles in emergency departments.

“Redcliffe was one of the three hospitals where I interviewed Nurse Practitioners and observed their practice,” she said.

During her time as a Senior Lecturer working in the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration, Dr Fox was invited to attend a Redcliffe Hospital Research ‘working group’ which sought to implement projects to improve care for frail aged patients in hospital.

“I was excited by the chance to work with a team of enthusiastic people on such meaningful work. Around this time, I attended a conference on ageing and saw a presentation about improving detection and care of patients with cognitive impairment in hospitals. I knew immediately that there was synergy between this project and the vision for frail aged patients at Redcliffe Hospital,” she said.

She approached the hospital about implementing the project and, after a successful grant application, it came to fruition.

The Cognitive Impairment Support Program was introduced across five acute care wards and involved patients, their care partners and over 500 hospital staff including, medical, nursing, allied health, catering, cleaning and wards people.

“This program aimed to increase patient screening for cognitive impairment and subsequently improve the care they received. Implementation took over 18 months and final results showed significant improvements in staff confidence to care for patients with cognitive impairment and significant improvements in patient quality of life measures,” she explained.

“The team and I are currently finalising a manuscript for publication in a peer reviewed international journal.”

Goals for new role

“In my role as Senior Nursing Researcher, I have three main goals, the first is to lead research such as this project and other multi-disciplinary and cross organisational studies with partners such as UQ, QIMR Berghofer and more recently with USC,” Dr Fox said.

“These university/hospital partnerships allow research that would not be possible by either party on their own and they generate a ripple effect of knowledge and learning.”

Her second goal is to mentor nurses and midwives to engage in research.

|“Nurses and midwives are perfectly positioned as they spend many hours with patients of all ages and their families in times of great need and distress,” she said.|

“They are often the conduit between patients and complex health care terminology and technology- they have the capacity to inform and conduct research that will make meaningful change for patients at the bedside across all age groups.”

Her third goal is to provide a nursing voice in research strategy and planning.

“I am working closely with the nursing and midwifery leaders and other discipline research leads to enhance multidisciplinary research collaborations both at Redcliffe Hospital and more broadly,” she said.

“Over the next 18 months we will be conducting a hospital-wide, practice development research project that aims to strengthen patient safety at Redcliffe. .

“This project is being designed jointly with Executive Director of Nursing Sally Taranec, university colleagues at QUT and USC, and will directly involve many clinicians across all disciplines in the nine wards taking part.

“We aim to reduce emergency team calls, patient falls, pressure injuries and complications such as infections which are experienced by many patients in hospital.

“I am extremely proud to hold the inaugural Senior Nursing Research role at Redcliffe Hospital. I hope to continue to support clinicians to conduct research that is driven by local patient needs and is therefore highly relevant and impactful but also sustainable to improve patient experience of hospitalisation.”

Support Raise it for Redcliffe

If you would like to support this year’s Raise it for Redcliffe fundraising campaign, head to the website.

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