Professor Marie Gerdtz

Marie Gerdtz

The Department of Nursing was established in 1996 with a focus on postgraduate and specialist research focused clinical education. Our location in the vibrant and creative interdisciplinary environment of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences facilitates our focus on inter-professional practice in all our programs and particularly in our research and leadership oriented graduate entry-to-practice program, the Master of Nursing Science. Our clinical education program is supported by strong relationships with a number of key metropolitan and rural clinical agencies.

The small size of the Department permits an intense focus on research and integration of research into practice. We are a research-led academic department in which an evidence base is implanted in all of our functions. We have robust research relationships with key health providers including Melbourne Health, the Royal Children's Hospital, Peter McCallum Cancer Centre and St Vincent's Hospital. The Department has a significant research profile and close local and national links with important human service and health agencies in the government and non government sectors, professional bodies and other major nursing departments internationally. We house the active and influential Centre for Psychiatric Nursing. The Department is recognised as a leader in nursing research and education in the Asia-Pacific region and internationally.

Our exciting and innovative entry-to-practice program attracts highly motivated graduates of any degree who want to fast track to a qualification as a nurse in an intensive two-year program. Our students are a dedicated and enthusiastic group who come to nursing with a passion for understanding health and the role it has in improving patient experiences. State-of-the-art clinical laboratories and placements in major metropolitan hospitals and specialist environments ensure sound integration of theory into practice. Students work in multidisciplinary student led clinics where they provide holistic patient care under supervision. The course offers graduates a higher level degree with enhanced learning outcomes, is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and is superb preparation for entry-to-practice as well as higher degree candidature. Most importantly, it is a robust preparation for the challenges facing our health workforce.

We have offered advanced practice and specialist postgraduate programs since the Department's inception. These programs remain central to our mission and are currently undergoing significant redevelopment to address more effectively the rapid shifts in advanced practice in Australia and internationally. Of note, our programs in paediatrics, child and adult critical care, emergency care, mental health and cancer and palliative care are offered at a range of post graduate levels. These are all clinically based and research focused, producing specialist practitioners who have the knowledge and skills to proceed to advanced specialist practice, including that of Nurse Practitioner. These programs combine classroom studies with clinical education through partnerships with health care services. We were the first to prepare nurse practitioners in Victoria for accreditation to practice autonomously, and we offer two accredited pharmacology subjects in conjunction with the Department of Pharmacology, which are necessary preparation for nurse practitioner candidates.

We support our higher degree candidates to answer clinically important questions about nursing interventions for best patient outcomes. With a concentration of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) prepared nurse academics, and excellent clinical and interdisciplinary links, we provide excellent supervision to these candidates. The Melbourne Experience provides higher degree students with excellent resources and facilities to enable them to extend their research capabilities to exemplary levels. We encourage curiosity and intellectual rigour, which facilitate professional growth. We are extremely proud of our higher degree candidates to date, many of whom have gone on to significant clinical research and academic careers in Australia and internationally.

Professor Marie Gerdtz
Head, Nursing
Melbourne School of Health Sciences