Lists of eligible research projects for ACU Nursing Honours Scholarships

These are eligible research projects and research supervisors for applicants who wish to apply for the ACU Nursing Honours Scholarship to commence an honour program in semester 1, 2023.


Project Title: Interrater reliability and concurrent validity of two pressure injury risk assessment tools (Waterlow score and Braden scale) in an acute hospital setting 

Established Supervisor: Professor Paul Fulbrook  <Paul.Fulbrook@acu.edu.au>
Emerging Supervisor: Dr Adam Burston

Project Description:

Pressure injury prevention begins with risk assessment, which then guides the selection and implementation of preventative interventions. Thus, risk assessment underpins the prevention process. In the study setting, pressure injury risk assessment is undertaken using the Waterlow risk assessment score. However, consensus in existing literature suggests the tool is unreliable. An alternative risk assessment tool is the Braden score, which is used widely throughout the world, and has demonstrated reliability in various settings. The main aim of this study is to compare the reliability of these two tools when used by nurses to assess the pressure injury risk of patients.

Description of the research internship opportunity:

The student will be situated within the Nursing Research & Practice Development Centre and as such will be able to access additional research opportunities. These opportunities may include involvement with a systematic literature review, preparation of human research ethics applications, involvement with data collection using quantitative or qualitative methods, or collaboration on a journal paper with named authorship.



Project Title: Nurses’ satisfaction with mental health transition programs: a pre-post survey study

Established Supervisor: Professor Kim Foster  <Kim.Foster@acu.edu.au>
Emerging Supervisor: Louise Alexander

Project Description:

Transition to practice programs support the professional, organisational, personal and clinical transition of registered and enrolled nurses into mental health nursing and are an essential pathway for building this workforce. Transition programs provide theoretical and clinical education and experience that help build the relevant knowledge and skills for this specialist field. While there is some prior evidence on graduate nurses’ satisfaction with mental health transition programs, there is little current evidence on generalist nurses and enrolled nurses. Further, there is a lack of current knowledge on what motivates nurses to choose mental health as a field to transition into. Project aims: To analyze pre-post mental health transition program satisfaction survey data and open-ended data on motivations for choosing mental health and produce a findings paper for publication.

Description of the research internship opportunity:

The Mental Health Nursing Research Group conducts multiple research projects in key program areas of: wellbeing and resilience of the mental health nursing workforce; physical health of people with mental illness; and the needs of families where parents have mental illness. Through the Honours project, the student will be part of the research group and conduct analysis on data that is part of a larger program of work on the program satisfaction of nurses transitioning into mental health. The student will gain experience in our various projects and work alongside Phd students and experienced researchers, and have particular opportunity to be part of data analysis in wellbeing projects we are currently working on. This internship will help the student extend their research knowledge and experience in the stages of the research process during their Honours year.   


Project Title: Digital Nursing Documentation

Established Supervisor: Dr Brandon Cheong <Brandon.Cheong@acu.edu.au>
Emerging Supervisor: Dr Adam Burston
Third Supervisor (if applicable): Professor Evelyn Hovenga

Project Description:

This honours project aims to establish a digital health workshop to actively contribute to the scoping, benchmarking, development and publication of an ACN position paper on the adoption of a Standardised Nursing Terminology in Australian Digital Health Systems. The research project aims to evaluate an ISO standard that identifies a categorial structure (information model) that represents nursing practice against current nursing documentation practices. This will be made possible by accessing samples from a real-world de-identified medical records repository (eHRoL) made available by the Global eHealth Collaborative, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on bridging data silos

Description of the research internship opportunity:

The internship research experience offers students the opportunity to work with The Global eHealth Collaborative to learn and develop skills in best practice point-of-care data collection, management of health data and the use of ISO standard nursing categories to develop clinical models and standard data value sets that will enable the aggregation and comparison of documentation for nursing services. Students will understand the value of adopting terminology standards best able to support digital documentation designed to meet nursing professional practice requirements and gain essential clinical and IT skills that will prepare them for HDR study in health information research.  



Project Title: Clinicians’ and patients’ views on the prevention and management of hospital-acquired wounds: a mixed-methods systematic review 

Emerging Supervisor: Dr Ching Shan Wan <ChingShan.Wan@acu.edu.au>

Established Supervisor: Professor Elizabeth McInnes 
Third Supervisor (if applicable): Dr Adam Burston 

Project Description:

There is low uptake of evidence-based clinical guidelines in relation to the prevention and management of complications related to surgical and intravascular device wounds. Understanding barriers and facilitators to evidence-based care will help to inform the design of an intervention to improve the delivery of evidence-based patient-centred wound care. A mixed-methods systematic review will synthesise evidence on clinicians’ and patients’ views of the barriers to evidence-based care for preventing and managing these two types of acute wounds and the findings will be used to inform the design of a tailored intervention to improve evidence uptake. 

Description of the research internship opportunity:

The student will be embedded in the Nursing Research Institute and work on a systematic review that is part of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Wiser Wound Care program. The student will be given the following opportunities: i) gain skills in the conduct of a systematic review; ii) experience in the use of implementation science frameworks to design a tailored intervention based on the review findings; iii) collaborate on and be a named author on a publication in a high impact journal; iv) work with experienced researchers on a topic of high priority to health services.



Project Title: Transition to practice in mental health nursing: an integrative review  

Established Supervisor: Professor Kim Foster  <Kim.Foster@acu.edu.au>

Emerging Supervisor: Dr. Louise Alexander 

Project Description:

Transition to practice programs support the professional, organizational, personal and clinical transition of registered and enrolled nurses into mental health nursing. Nurses in mental health need to develop the relevant knowledge and skills for this specialist field, which includes comprehensive mental health evidence-based care and providing psychosocial interventions to people experiencing mental distress. However, nurses can experience transition shock and challenges associated with the interpersonal nature of this work as well as structural challenges such as high workloads and poor staff skill-mix. These can impact newly transitioned nurses’ mental health and wellbeing and affect the retention of new nurses in the mental health workforce. The mental health nursing workforce is experiencing high attrition and knowledge from this review can be used to inform development of retention and support strategies for new staff. Project aims: To synthesize existing knowledge on the type and nature of transition to practice programs into mental health nursing and associated outcomes in relation to mental health, wellbeing and resilience for nurses transitioning into this specialty field and produce an integrative review for publication. 

Description of the research internship opportunity:

The Mental Health Nursing Research Group conducts multiple research projects in key program areas of: wellbeing and resilience of the mental health nursing workforce; physical health of people with mental illness; and the needs of families where parents have mental illness. Through the Honours project, the student will be part of the research group and conduct a review that is part of a larger program of work on the wellbeing of graduate nurses in mental health. The student will gain experience in our various projects and work alongside Phd students and experienced researchers, and have particular opportunity to be part of data analysis in wellbeing projects we are currently working on. This internship will help the student extend their research knowledge and experience in the stages of the research process during their Honours year.