Celebrating International Nurses Day 12 May 2020

May 12 2020

Nurses are a vital cog in our research network

On International Nurses Day we’d like to acknowledge and celebrate the role that nurses play in research at HMRI, our local health district and beyond.

From research group leaders, to clinical trial experts and clinical consultant, we have more than 40 nurses who are HMRI affiliate researchers making an impact in research. In fields as diverse as lung disease, gynaecology, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes, cancer and intensive care, the nurses within our network have a vital role in research design, practice and translation.
The success of our multidisciplinary research teams is driven by a range of expertise. While we’d like to celebrate each and every one, today we’d like to introduce you to a few of our nurses who are delivering important clinical and research outcomes for our community at HMRI.

Professor Vanessa McDonald is a research leader in the VIVA respiratory group. She has worked as a clinical nurse in respiratory for over 25 years– during her clinical practice she developed her career in research. As a clinical nurse Professor McDonald experienced first-hand the positive impacts of identifying treatments through research that lead to improved outcomes for patients – a key driver to her ongoing research success. Her work in the field of respiratory disease is particularly timely as the world is in the grip of COVID-19.

Dr Gary Crowfoot is a registered nurse and early career researcher working in stroke prevention and rehabilitation. With a PhD in nursing, Gary aims to build happier and healthier communities through a focus on reducing stroke risk through lifestyle modifications.During the COVID-19 pandemic a number of our researchers have stepped up and returned to frontline care to help our communities.

Jessica Stokes-Parish has a research focus on transforming the way that healthcare professionals learn and deliver care. She’s played a vital role in HMRI’s COVID-19 community campaign, and prepared to step back into scrubs to work as an intensive care nurse when COVID-19 threatened our community. Thankfully, due to community persistence, relatively low rates of infection in the Hunter meant that her Intensive Care shifts were limited and her focus is now back on research.

Professor Brett Mitchell’s research into disease resistance through improved hygiene has proven timely during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Featured in the Newcastle Herald Professor Mitchell offered important advice on cleaning tips for optimal home hygiene. As a Fellow of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control, and the Australian College of Nursing, Professor Mitchell’s aim is to advance best-practice hygiene and sanitation standards in hospitals to reduce the spread of deadly disease.

HMRI Institute Director Professor Tom Walley says that with 2020 declared The Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization it’s timely to celebrate the key role of these vital health professionals. “The theme of International Nurses Day 2020 is ‘Nursing the world to health’ and we would like to thank every single one of the nurses in our network, and across our health districts for their fundamental roles within the healthcare teams.”


Thank you.