When researchers, children, families, care providers and support services work together towards a shared vision, we can ensure children and their families remain visible and their voices consistently heard.
I am a UK trained and Registered Children’s Nurse. During my Bachelor of Children’s Nursing with The University of Wales, Bangor, I developed an interest in research, recognising its importance in delivering best practice care.
Whilst working as a Children’s Nurse in a variety of hospital and community settings, I became increasingly aware of gaps in knowledge, especially relating to how the lived and healthcare experiences of children and families influenced their healthcare journey and quality of life.
I loved working directly with children and their families, however I was aware that while as an individual I could make a difference for the children and families I directly cared for, to make changes to care at a system level, I needed to be working in a position where I could generate evidence to support system level changes in care. This led to me undertaking a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funded Master of Clinical Research with The University of Manchester. As the Masters program was a clinical academic pathway, I was able to keep working with children and families whilst undertaking my research training. On completion, I landed my dream job working as a Clinical Research Nurse. However, the call of a sunny climate and opportunity for cultural and clinical growth saw me relocate to the Northern Territory on a sponsored work visa. My intention was to return to the UK, however 10 years later I am still here in Australia!
I found working in Australia challenging as the clinical academic pathway available in the UK did not exist. This forced me to have to make the decision to either follow a clinical pathway, a research pathway, or return to the UK. Having fallen in love with Australia and still having a passion to change experiences and care at a system level, I chose to remain in Australia and follow a research pathway. I relocated to Queensland and completed my PhD in 2020 with Queensland University of Technology. My thesis focus was Planning for Paediatric Palliative Care in Queensland.
I am grateful to now be employed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where I am able to continue my research in the field of paediatric palliative care and am supported by the fabulous team from the Cancer and Palliative Care Outcomes Center.
While I do miss clinical care, I am fortunate to be able to work closely with clinicians across Australia who work with children and their families, and especially those from the Queensland Children’s Hospital Paediatric Palliative Care Service, who have embraced me into their team. I therefore still feel connected to what is happening in contemporary clinical practice.
My motivation and passion for research continues to be fuelled by the unmet needs expressed by children, their families and the people who care for them. A key finding from research is that while children and families may share similar types of challenges and experiences, the experience of each child and family is unique to them. To be able to deliver family centred care, it is important to understand the unique experiences of each child and family.
When thinking about research, the words of Mother Teresa resonate “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. When researchers, children, families, care providers and support services work together towards a shared vision, we can ensure children and their families remain visible and their voices consistently heard. I am pleased to be currently making more ripples’ through the Paediatric Palliative Care National Action Plan Project funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care.
Select where you would like to share this articleClose Window