Welcome from your Head of Department

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2018. It’s been some years since our department last published a newsletter, so I hope this is a pleasant surprise. In more recent years we posted many of our news items online and as they happen. The purpose of this e-newsletter is to provide a brief snapshot of our achievements and to keep our staff, honoraries and our alumni well informed about key upcoming events, announcements and news items. I do hope that you will connect with us through our e-newsletter – perhaps sharing with us your stories and providing us with feedback. I also want to  express my sincere thanks to Emeritus Professor Judy Parker for donating her time and expertise to editing our newsletter and contributing so proactively to our engagement activities.

The 2017 year was one  of transitions for Nursing @ Melbourne: Welcoming six new academic staff members, participating in an external review of our school and commencing work on accreditation for both the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice and Master of Advanced Nursing practice (Nurse Practitioner). On November 30 we also farewelled Professor Nick Santamaria as he went into retirement after  a long association with the University of Melbourne. Having completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 1996,  Nick began his association with the Department of Nursing the following year, first as an honorary Research Fellow, and later as Professor of Translational Nursing Research. Nick will continue to work with us on several research projects and mentor early career researchers in our chronic disease program.

As 2017 came to a close, the Department co-organised the seventh International Hong Kong International Nursing Forum (pictured below) in partnership with the School of Nursing Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. Professor Mei Krishnasamy delivered an inspiring keynote address titled “Creating Tomorrow Through Co-design” drawing on her own work as Chair of Cancer Nursing, Department of Nursing at The University of Melbourne and Research and Education Lead in Cancer Nursing at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

2018 is shaping up as a year of significant growth for our department in Teaching and Learning. The Master of Nursing Science (our entry to practice program) has recorded a record number of students entering the program with more than 30 per cent growth in enrolments and a 50 per cent increase in international students. Our specialty programs continue to expand and diversify with several new interstate partnerships established and two new courses introduced. The launch of the Graduate Certificate Nursing Practice, with specialties in cardio-respiratory and renal nursing, has started well, while the Specialist Certificate in Neonatal Care, which will be offered in partnership with The Royal Women’s Hospital, Royal Children’s and Western Health will commence in late  July. Additionally, several new courses will be designed and launched across 2018- 2021.

These courses are being developed in response to a Chancellery sponsored project that scoped market and workforce trends against current offerings in specialty and advanced nursing practice. What is particularly exciting about these new programs is that they are designed to be flexible, modular and mapped to the career aspirations of registered nurses, as they enter specialisation and move through to advanced practice. With such growth in both student numbers and  course offerings, we plan to recruit staff with expertise in specialty nursing practice. Additionally, we are in the process of engaging two new senior academics to lead research programs in Chronic Disease across the Lifespan and in Health Services Research and/or knowledge transfer and implementation science. It is anticipated that these positions will replace existing gaps due to recent retirements, and  also build new capacity in research consistent with strategic directions of the Melbourne School of Health Science and the Strategic Action Plan for Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

In May to June we will be participating in the University’s Teaching and Learning Quality Assessment Cycle (TALQAC) review, which will include extensive quality improvement as well as staff and student consultations across Master of Nursing Science and Master of Advanced Nursing Practice Programs. The TALQAC review, while challenging, will provide us with invaluable data and feedback to inform our curriculum and is a perfect segue into accreditation visits schedule with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council later this year.

In signing off, we are honoured and excited to announce that this year’s Marian Barrett Lecture, tentatively scheduled for the evening of Thursday 27 September, with the lecture to be delivered by Dame Nicky Cullum, DBE, Professor and Head of Nursing at the University of Manchester. We request that you please hold the date, and we will circulate details soon.