HITC takes a lead role in new the  National Placement Evaluation Centre (NPEC)

NPEC Image - new addrStudent nurses and midwives in Australia are required to attend clinical placements as part of a bachelor degree.  Whilst educational experiences are generally good some students and educators report poor outcomes. In line with a recent review of nurse education (Schwartz 2019) it is therefore essential that these placements are formally evaluated to benchmark outcomes and to ensure quality improvements.

To address these issues the National Placement Evaluation Centre (NPEC) has been formed. Federation University/HITC have been contracted to run the Centre which will be led by Director Professor Simon Cooper (HITC), Deputy Director Professor Karen Strickland (Edith Cowan University), and Assistant Director Dr Colleen Ryan (CQU).

Other Federation University staff include A/Prof Robyn Cant (Adjunct Research Fellow, HITC), Dr Michelle Maier (Research Fellow, HITC), Elise Luders (Midwife Advisor) and Megan Fitzgerald (3rd Year student representative).

NPEC staff will collate placement ratings from students and educators/supervisors using a range of measures enabling national benchmarking and quality improvement.  The repository will be managed through an education management system that will enable individual institutions to upload their ratings and for NPEC staff to anonymise and collate outcomes for national reporting.  Based on outcomes interventional programs of research will be instituted to enhance educational quality.

A Centre trial begins in early 2022 with a national roll out towards the end of the year.

National Placement Evaluation Centre (NPEC) has been formed and will be managed by Health Education Services Australia (HESA) with funding from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) and the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (CDNM).  .Additional background to the work and the various stages of development are described at:

HITC Research Impact

The Health Innovation and Transformation Centre is committed to translating our world class research outcomes into real world practices that have a ‘clinical/health’ impact and a ‘policy’ impact.  We were very successful in this goal in 2021.  Below are some examples.

Professor Simon Cooper

Simulation CareCooper S. Kinsman L. Champion R. Kim JA. Boyle J. Cameron A. Cant R. Chung C. Connell C. Evans. L. McInnes D. McKay A. Norman L. Penz E. The impact of simulation education programs on nurses’ response to patient deterioration.

In 2001 Cooper et al completed a series of work that aimed to improve the clinical management of seriously ill patients.  This included the development of face to face and virtual simulation programs that were rolled out to clinical staff in four Victorian hospitals.  Using pre-post interventional measures (time series analysis) both educational approaches were found to significantly improve staff management of deteriorating patients with more appropriate and timely care.

Professor Rochelle Eime

Eime, R., Charity, M., Harvey, J., Pankowiak, A., Westerbeek, H. Sport Participation Research Project 2019-2021.

This longitudinal study has been reporting on community sport participation trends since 2011.  In 2020 it was able to clearly demonstrate the impact of policy and investments into female participation over the previous 5 years, and the significant impact of COVID on the sport sector.  This has led to policy and investment strategies for sports, VicHealth and State Govt - Sport and Recreation Victoria, and the further extension of this project for 2022 and 2023.

Professor Richard Bradbury

Blood ParasiteFlaherty BR, Barratt J, Lane M, Talundzic E, Bradbury RS. Sensitive universal detection of blood parasites by selective pathogen-DNA enrichment and deep amplicon sequencing. Microbiome. 2021;9(1):1-9.

In 2021 the final paper from the parasitic diseases diagnostic group was published. This described the further development of the high-throughput sequencing based Universal Parasite Diagnostic (UPDx) assay into an ultra-sensitive assay, comparable in sensitivity to real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This assay has now been adopted in parasitology diagnostic reference laboratories in the U.S.A., including the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention - Parasitic Diseases Reference Laboratory and the New York State (Wadsworth) Public Health Laboratory. The work developing this assay also resulted in World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patent WO2019060840: Eldin Talundzic, Richard S Bradbury, Christian Olsen, Briana Flaherty. Removing Interfering Host Nucleic Acids for Molecular Parasite Detection;granted 28 March 2019.

Dr Yutang Wang

Wang Y, Zhang W, Qian T, Sun H, Xu Q, Hou X, Hu W, Zhang G, Drummond GR, Sobey CG, Charchar FJ, Golledge J, Yang G. Reduced renal function may explain the higher prevalence of hyperuricemia in older people.

In 2021, Wang et al completed a study with 13,288 Chinese adults and found that reduced renal function explains the common epidemiological observation that the prevalence of hyperuricemia is higher in older people in whom renal function is reduced. It is usually thought that the increase in circulating uric acid would lead to a corresponding worsening of renal function. However, a few very recent studies showed that uric acid-lowering therapy did not slow the decline in renal function. These studies and the current study suggest that the progression of chronic kidney disease is the cause of the increase in circulating uric acid.

Dr Daniel Terry

PharmacyTerry, D. Hills, D. Peck, D. Kirschbaum, M. Obamiro, K. Bishop, J. Baker, E. Schmitz, D. Better enabling, retaining, and sustaining the pharmacy workforce in regional, rural, and remote settings.

In 2021 Terry et al undertook a study aimed at successfully supporting the recruitment and retention of rural pharmacists. This included the design and development of the Pharmacist Community Apgar Questionnaire (PharmCAQ) which was piloted among rural community and hospital pharmacies across Victoria and Tasmania. Using the PharmCAQ key assets and challenges that enable pharmacist recruitment and retention in rural communities were identified, while providing long-term retention solutions and strategies.

Dr Danielle Wagstaff

Watkins, C., Bovet, J., Fernandez, A.M., Leongomez, D., Zelazniewicz, A., Correa Varella, M.A., & Wagstaff, D. (2022). Men say “I love you” before women do: robust across several countries. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

This paper demonstrates that men are more likely to confess love first in a relationship, and suggest that regardless of sex, attachment style affects the reactions to being told “I love you”. Confessing love and reactions to love confessions are dissociated. This paper shows the cross-cultural nature of love confessions, and has utility for relationship counselling, if alignment between what people say and how they feel is important for relationship outcomes.

Professor Carolyn Unsworth

Accessible TransportTitle: Improving safety for bus passengers using wheelchairs and mobility scooters: Effectiveness of restraint systems

Research funders: Department of Transport, Vic ($307,000).

Research team: Professor Carolyn Unsworth (SOH), Dr. Gayan Kahandawa and Amal Jayawardena (Engineering)

Drawing on previous research conducted by Unsworth’s team, Australian and International Standards and legislative documentation, this research investigated the forces that are present on public buses that may produce slide or tip for users of mobility devices such as wheelchairs or scooters, the frequency of such, the effectiveness of passive containment and active tie-down systems and the practical considerations.

The team developed a modified containment system which has been demonstrated to reduce slide or tip and meets practical considerations.  This research has a direct impact on improving bus travel safety for people with disabilities using mobility devices, and findings will be reviewed by the Department of Transport for implementation across Victoria and elsewhere.

Professor Britt Klein

My Digital Health is a ‘public good’ offering health platform including a suite of digital mental health programs, across the healthcare activity spectrum, aiming to improve general public mental health and wellbeing.

Technological features allow healthcare practitioners & clinical students to digitally collaborate with their clients and develop their digital mental health skills. Technological features enable the development, evaluation and translation of digital health interventions with an impact on health and wellbeing.

Dr Kerrie Shandley

Lum JAG., Shandley K., Albein-Urios N., Kirkovski M., Papadopoulos N., Wilson RB., Enticott PG., Rinehart NJ. Meta-analysis of Autism Gait.

Published in 2021, the results of this study indicate that autism is associated with abnormal gait, and that the difference in gait between autism and control groups become more pronounced with age. However, the methodological quality of the reviewed studies identified the need to understand the extent that gait abnormalities are specifically linked to autism, or whether they are secondary to other factors commonly found in this group (i.e., increased weight).

Dr Angela Rintoul

GamblingRintoul, A., (2021) Submission to the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence.

In 2021 Angela summarised a body work that she has contributed to the field of gambling regulation. She supported counsel assisting the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator in Victoria by coordinating academics to describe challenges in gaining access to data from gambling operators, including Crown Casino. The Finkelstein report has since recommended the introduction of mandatory precommitment systems at the casino, a measure that Angela has been supporting since 2010, and which the Victorian government is said to be considering. In November 2021 she was selected through a competitive process to participate in the Policy Impact Program for the Churchill Trust and will continue to communicate the need for universal registration systems to prevent harm from gambling, including suicide prevention, through this program in 2022.