Associate Professor Michelle Giles

Michelle Giles

Research Interests

  • Translational research
  • Health services redesign
  • Implementation and evaluation of innovative models of care
  • Collaborating with multidisciplinary teams in a variety of health settings

Brief Profile

Michelle is the Nurse Manager Research and Director of Hunter New England’s Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre (NMRC) and Chair of the executive committee of HMRI’s Healthcare Transformation Research Program.

Michelle’s main areas of focus is on translational research, health services redesign and implementing practice change. A key component of her work is collaborating with multidisciplinary teams to translate research evidence into practice in a variety of healthcare settings including acute and primary health care.

She is currently leading several implementation research initiatives in collaboration with multiple NSW local health districts, with government and non-government partners including the NSW Ministry of Health, Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) and Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC), the Residential Aged Care sector and with Regional Health Partners.

Her research has been driven by health service priorities and areas of identified service needs and seen the development and implementation of innovative models of care in the areas of ambulatory care models for elderly residential aged care residents, tracheostomy care, detection and treatment of osteoporosis, head, and neck cancer patients, preventing Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection and using telehealth models of care to keep elderly residents out of Emergency Departments.

Michelle’s project teams have been successful in winning awards at a District, State and National level, with the most recent award being the winner of the 2016 NSW Health Quality awards and the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards (ACHS) Clinical Excellence award. Michelle was the winner of the NSW Ministry of Health NSW Nursing and Midwifery Excellence in Innovation and Researcher Award in 2017.

Her work also focuses on research capacity building for clinicians in the local health district. Initiatives have included the establishment of a research internship program for senior clinical nurses and midwives, the development of research clinics in rural, remote, and metropolitan locations, and the presentation of an annual Writer’s Workshop where nurses and midwives are supported to publish research findings.

Why did you get into research?

I have been a nurse for 45 years in the public health system, working in a variety of speciality areas, including orthopaedics, medical and surgical wards, midwifery, and paediatrics, in both NSW and Queensland.

Whilst continuing my clinical role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neonatal Intensive Care, I also worked in a variety of research related roles such as research data manager, research nurse, trial coordinator and data analyst.

In 2005 as one of the founding members of Hunter New England’s Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre (NMRC), my key motivation has been to utilise existing health datasets to identify areas of need and conduct research that supports clinicians who have identified a need for change and who want to transform their service or clinical practice.

Through the work of the NRMC, we have been able to build research capacity with the Nursing and Midwifery professions, provide research leadership and strategic direction for Nursing and Midwifery led research and support many clinician-initiated projects that challenge the status quo and make a huge difference to patient outcomes.

A few stand-out examples include:

  • Opening the door on osteoporosis – identification and prevention across acute and primary care settings.
  • Improving the residential aged care resident journey in ambulatory care settings – working with residential aged care facilities, ambulatory care, ambulance services and hospital transport.
  • Improving access to specialist expertise for managing spinal fractures in rural and remote areas using telehealth.
  • Reducing inappropriate use of indwelling catheters and reducing catheter associated urinary tract infections in adult inpatient hospital.
  • Implementing an integrated telehealth assisted model of care (PACE-IT) to reduce inappropriate transfer of residential aged care residents to emergency departments.
  • Establishment of a world-first smart phone fully integrated eHealth post-caesarean section surgical site infection surveillance system.
  • The use of INR point of care monitoring devices in acute care cardiology services.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Ultimately, I want my research to nurture the creative disruptors and innovators in healthcare – those who challenge the usual way of doing things and bring about meaningful change.

Clinicians, as front-line workers who are closest to the patients, are incredibly well-positioned to identify any “wicked problems” and the need for change.

However, we need to foster research and innovation that is collaborative and that transcends disciplinary, jurisdictional, and geographic boundaries, so that we can achieve sustainable impact and relevance for people and communities with diverse health-care needs.

Future Focus

  • To ensure that my research focus is driven by health service priorities.
  • To achieve sustainable change and to optimise healthcare experiences and outcomes for individuals, families, communities, and health care providers.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Translational research
  • Health services redesign
  • Implementation and evaluation of innovative models of care
  • Interprofessional practice change across a variety of health settings