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About the nursing research department

Nursing research is integral to patient care, whether care takes place at the bedside or during surgery. It provides the evidence to improve and support nursing practice. The department undertakes a multi-disciplinary program of clinical and health services research focusing on improving patient outcomes, quality and safety of patient care, and the delivery of health services.

Our researchers use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods and work collaboratively with many institutions across Australia to discover and build evidence in the areas of healthcare associated infections, healthcare infection control, psychological wellbeing of patients and their carers, support and psychosocial wellbeing of healthcare workers.

We build nursing research capacity by engaging with nurses, clinicians, allied health professionals, health service management, patients and families. We are committed to building an evidence based, research driven nursing workforce by providing support to nurses undertaking research studies locally and through research supervision of Masters and PhD students.

If you would like to contact the Cabrini Monash University Department of Nursing Research please email

Team members

New discoveries and research focus

Exploring factors relating to nursing involvement in conducting research

Research conducted by nurses is an important part of the ongoing enhancement of high-quality, safe patient care. However, it can be difficult for nurses to engage in research activities, especially due to time constraints and competing demands. Researchers at the Department of Nursing Research wanted to explore the potential barriers and facilitators with the aim to better partner with clinical nurses on research projects into the future. The study showed that there are opportunities for improvement to increase Cabrini nurses involvement in conducting research.

Read about the research

Cabrini study: Caring for cancer patients during COVID

COVID-19 has had an emotional impact on all of us, and there will be long term psychological costs and mental health implications. Many people deferred doctors and hospital visits in fear of exposure to COVID-19, especially as we waited for vaccines to be developed. For many cancer patients this was not an option. They had to come for their treatment, it wasn’t deferrable and couldn’t be delivered through telehealth.

The Cabrini Monash University Department of Nursing Research team set out to understand the experiences of people with cancer and their caregivers during the pandemic, in order to gain important knowledge about how future healthcare should be provided in crises. Their study, COVID-19 and Cancer, published just last month in Cancer Nursing, interviewed 16 healthcare professionals working within the area of cancer care and 19 people who had a diagnosis of cancer or were caregivers of someone with cancer about their experiences during this time.

The team identified five interrelated themes from the interviews: uncertainty and vulnerability; constraints and restrictions; isolation and disconnection; burdens and stressors; and adaptability and resilience.

The results suggested that for people with cancer and their caregivers, their cancer diagnosis concerns outweigh those associated with fear and risks of COVID-19.

Social isolation was the most significant challenge.

Speaking directly with the people affected has highlighted that healthcare services can assist those who are feeling more vulnerable during crises, especially through greater access to psychosocial and spiritual services, and by providing greater attention.

The study was published in the International journal, Cancer Nursing, last month. Read a full-text report of the study.

This research was made possible by the generosity of the donors who support the Alan Jackson Nursing Research Grant.

Read about the research

Best support for our cancer patients and their loved ones as they approach end-of-life

Nearing the end-of-life takes an emotional toll on a cancer patient and their loved ones. Cancer patients face many psychosocial stressors, including dignity loss, existential distress, demoralisation and perceptions of being a burden. These sit in the background of a wide range of psychiatric concerns, from depression and anxiety to posttraumatic stress. Care givers also face a significant level of psychological distress and anxiety, and are at risk of prolonged grief.

Psychosocial interventions are important as they address emotional, spiritual, and practical aspects, creating value, meaning, purpose, and identity while acknowledging the pragmatic needs of finances, housing, and aids to daily living. Implementation of psychosocial interventions to manage psychosocial suffering should be part of best care for every patient facing end-of-life.

The field is rapidly growing and there is much evidence to support its benefits, but we need more research to fully understand how we should best deliver psychosocial interventions.

As part of a project with the Cabrini Monash Department of Nursing Research and Cabrini Intensive Care Research Unit, medical students Nicolle Chew and Ee Lynn Ting supervised by Dr Lucy Kerr and Associate Professor Philip Russo set out to understand what type of research is needed, what types of psychosocial interventions are available, and what are the knowledge gaps.

Their findings were recently published in the International journal, Cancer Nursing.

Read about the research

Nursing Resource Videos

  • Alan Jackson Research Grant. ‘The accuracy of coded Hospital Acquired Complication data in identifying healthcare associated infections.’ (2021) $50,050 Russo, P (PI), Renton R (CI), Rankin D (CI), Kerr L (CI).
  • Alan Jackson Research Grant. ‘The effect of COVID-19 on healthcare associated infections in a multi-campus private health care facility.’ (2020) $49,461. Russo P (PI), Renton R (CI), Wang W (CI), Mitchell B (CI).
  • Alan Jackson Research Grant. ‘An exploratory study of the experiences of cancer patients and their caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.’ (2020) $47,211. Russo P (PI), Kerr L (CI), Ilangakoon C (CI), Richardson G (CI), Seletto K, (AI), LeHunt E (AI).
  • Auric Innovation Grant (Johnstone Family, via Cabrini Foundation). ‘Development of customised distraction techniques for managing acute behavioural disturbance of elderly patients in the emergency department setting to limit use of chemical and physical restraint.’ (2019) $146,993. Blecher G, Kuhn L, Walker K, Flynn D, Joe K, Russo P, Page R, Peisah C.
  • NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. ‘Improved Detection of Infections Following Surgery for Meaningful Public Reporting.’ (2019) $327,192.00. Russo P (PI), Cheng A, Bucknall T.
  • Industry Grant – Covidien. ‘Establishing the prevalence of healthcare associated infections in two large Australian private hospitals.’ (2020) $15,000. Russo P (PI), Cheng A, Stewardson A, Mitchell B.
  • Industry Grant – Covidien. ‘Patient perspectives of healthcare associated infection.’ (2019), $15,000. Mitchell B, Northcote M, Rickett C, Russo P.
  • NHMRC Ideas Grant. ‘A new approach to disinvestment: Application to falls prevention mobilisation alarms.’ (2020) $1.1M. CIs: Haines T, Shorr B, Botti M, Brusco N, O’Brien E, Redley B, Bowles KA. AIs: Hutchinson A, Mitchell D, Jellete J, Steen K, Boyd L, Russo P, Webb M, Raymond M, Hunter P.
  • Russo PL, Digby R, Bucknall T. (2019) Consumer knowledge and attitudes towards public reporting of healthcare associated infection data. Am J Infect Control. 47(6):656-660. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2018.11.018
  • Mitchell BG, Northcote N, Cheng AC, Fasugba O, Russo PL, Rosebrock H. (2019) Reducing urinary catheter use using an electronic reminder system in hospitalised patients: a randomised stepped wedge trial. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 40(4):427-431. doi:10.1017/ice.2019.31
  • Mitchell BG, Russo PL, Cheng AC, Stewardson AJ, Rosebrock H, Curtis S, Robinson S, Kiernan M. (2019) Strategies to reduce non-ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia: a systematic review. Infection Disease and Health. 24(4):229-239. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2019.06.002
  • Mitchell BG, Shaban RZ, Macbeth D, Russo PL. (2019) Organisation and governance of infection prevention and control in Australian residential aged care facilities: a national survey. Infection Disease and Health. 24(4):187-193. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2019.06.004
  • Russo PL, Stewardson AJ, Cheng AC, Bucknall T, Mitchell BG. (2019) The prevalence of healthcare associated infections among adult inpatients at nineteen large Australian acute-care public hospitals: a point prevalence survey. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 8(1):1-8. doi: 10.1186/s13756-019-0570-y
  • Russo PL. (2019) Bundles of bundles. Infection, Disease & Health. 24(3):113-114. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2019.06.001
  • Kerr, L., Fisher, C.M., Jones, T. (2019). TRANScending Discrimination in Health and Cancer Care: A Study of Trans and Gender Diverse Australians, (ARCSHS Monograph Series No. 115), Bundoora: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University.
  • Waling, A., Kerr, L., Fraser, S., Bourne, A., & Carman, M. (2019). Young People, Sexual Literacy, and Sources of Knowledge: A Review (ARCSHS Monograph series No. 119). Bundoora, VIC: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.
  • Fisher, C.M., Kerr, L., Ezer, P. Kneip Pelster, A.D., Coleman, J.D., Tibbits, M. (2019). ‘Adolescent perspectives on addressing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in the classroom and beyond,’ Sex Education, published online.
  • Ezer, P., Kerr, L., Fisher, C. M., Heywood, W., Lucke, J. (2019). ‘Australian Students’ Experiences of Sexuality Education at School,’ Sex Education, published online.
  • Jones, T., Rahn, A., Kerr, L., Ezer, P., Henningham, M., del Pozo de Bolger, A., Parkinson, C., Ison, J. (2019). ‘Chapter 10: Carving out qualifications: Mastering PhD problems in post-graduate gender and sexuality study’ in: Jones, T., Coll, L., van Leent, L., and Taylor, Y., (Eds) Uplifting Gender and Sexuality Education Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 233-256.
  • Fisher, C. M., Waling, A., Kerr, L., Bellamy, R., Ezer, P., Mikolajczak, G., Brown, G., Carman, M. & Lucke, J. (2019). 6th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2018, (ARCSHS Monograph Series No. 113), Bundoora: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University.
  • Fisher, C., Mikolajczak, G., Ezer, P., Kerr, L., Bellamy, R., Brown, G., Waling, A., & Lucke, J. (2019). Study Protocol: 6th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Adolescent Sexual Health, 2018, Frontiers in Public Health, 7:217.
  • Mitchell BG, Fasugba O, Russo PL. (2020) Where is the strength of evidence? a review of infection prevention and control guidelines. J Hosp Infect. 105(2):242-251. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.008.
  • Shaban RZ, Sotomayor-Castillo C, Nahidi S, Li C, Macbeth D, Mitchell BG, Russo PL. (2020) Global burden, point-sources and outbreak management of healthcare-associated Burkholderia cepacia infections: an integrative review. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 41(7):777-783 doi: 10.1017/ice.2020.184. Online ahead of print.
  • Nayna Schwerdtle P, Connell CJ, Lee S, Plummer V, Russo PL, Endacott R, Kuhn, L. (2020) Nurse expertise: a critical resource in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Annals of Global Health. 86(1):1-5. doi: 10.5334/aogh.2898
  • Russo PL, Stewardson AJ, Cheng AC, Bucknall T, Mitchell BG. (2020) Prevalence of device use and transmission based precautions in nineteen large Australian acute care public hospitals: secondary outcomes from a national healthcare associated infection point prevalence survey. Infection Disease and Health. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2020.05.006. Online ahead of print.
  • Loftus MJ Curtis SJ, Naidu R, Cheng AC, Jenney A, Mitchell BG, Russo PL, Rafai E, Peleg AY, Stewardson AJ. Prevalence of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use among inpatients in a tertiary hospital in Fiji: a point prevalence survey Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2020;9(1)
  • Gordon LG, Elliott TM, Forde B, Mitchell BG, Russo PL, Paterson DL, Harris PNA. Cost savings from routine use of whole-genomic sequencing of six multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens in Queensland, Australia.  BMJ Open (accepted November 2020)
  • Van Huezen P, Connell C, Russo PL, Kuhn L. The nurses’ role in antimicrobial stewardship: A scoping review. Int J Nurs Stud. 2020:103772.
  • Kerr, L., Fisher, C. M., Jones, T. (2020). ‘Improving cervical screening in trans and gender diverse people’, Cancer Nursing: An International Journal for Cancer Care.
  • Kerr, L., Fisher, C. M., Jones, T. (2020). ‘‘I’m not from another planet’: the alienating cancer care experiences of trans and gender diverse people’, Cancer Nursing: An International Journal for Cancer Care.
  • Kerr, L., Fisher, C. M., Jones, T. (2020). ‘Key informants discuss cancer care research for trans and gender diverse people’, Journal of Cancer Education.
  • Ezer, P., Kerr, L., Fisher, C. M., Waling, A, Bellamy, R, Lucke, J. (2020). ‘School-based relationship and sexuality education: what has changed since the release of the Australian Curriculum?’, Sex Education.
  • Waling, A., Kerr, L., Bourne, A., Power, J., Kehler, M. (2020). ‘‘It’s nice to be appreciated’: Understanding heterosexual men’s engagements with sexting and sharing Dick Pics’, Sexualities.
  • Waling, A., Bellamy, R., Ezer, P., Kerr, L., Lucke, J., & Fisher, C. (2020). “It’s kinda bad, honestly.”: Australian students’ experiences of relationships and sexuality education. Health Education Research.
  • Fisher, C. M., Kauer, S, Mikolajczak, G, Ezer, P., Kerr, L., Bellamy, R., Waling, A., Lucke, J. (2020). ‘Prevalence rates of sexual behaviors, condom use, and contraception among Australian heterosexual adolescents,’ The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
  • Russo PL, Saguil E, Chakravarthy M, Lee KY, Ling ML, Morikane K et al. Improving surgical site infection prevention in Asia-Pacific through appropriate surveillance programs: Challenges and recommendation. Infection, Disease and Health. 2021 Aug;26(3):198-207.
  • Mitchell BG, Prael G, Curryer C, Russo PL, Fasugba O, Lowthian J, Cheng AC,  Archibold J, Robertson M. The frequency of urinary tract infections and the value of antiseptics in community-dwelling people who undertake intermittent urinary catheterization : A systematic review. American Journal of Infection Control, 2021.
  • Curryer C, Russo PL, Kiernan M, Wares KD, Smith K, Mitchell BG. Environmental hygiene, knowledge and cleaning practice: a phenomenological study of nurses and midwives during COVID-19. American Journal of Infection Control. 2021.
  • Morikane K, Russo P, Lee KY, Chakravarthy M,  Ling ML, Saguil E, Spencer M, Danker W, Seno A,. Edmiston CE. Expert commentary on the challenges and opportunities for surgical site infection prevention through implementation of evidence-based guidelines in the Asia-Pacific Region. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 2021 Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 65.
  • Crossfield, CL, Bucknall, TK, Russo, PL. Enteral nutrition feeding practices by intensive care nurses: A retrospective evaluation. Nurs Crit Care. 2021; 1– 6.
  • Gordon LG, Elliott TM, Forde B, Mitchell BG, Russo PL, Paterson DL, Harris PNA. Cost savings from routine use of whole-genomic sequencing of six multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens in Queensland, Australia BMJ Open. 2021;11(2):e041968.
  • Cosentino CB, Mitchell BG, Brewster DJ, Russo PL. The utility of frailty indices in predicting the risk of healthcare associated infections: a systematic review. Am J Infect Control. DOI:
  • Van Huezen P, Connell C, Russo PL, Kuhn L. The nurses’ role in antimicrobial stewardship: A scoping review. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2021:103772.
  • Sotomayor-Castillo C, Nahidi S, Li C, Macbeth D, Russo PL, Mitchell BG et al. Infection control professionals’ and infectious diseases physicians’ knowledge, preparedness, and experiences of managing COVID-19 in Australian healthcare settings. Infection, Disease and Health. 2021.
  • Waling, A., Fisher, C. M., Ezer, P., Kerr, L., Bellamy, R., Lucke, J. (2021). ‘‘Please teach students that sex is a health part of growing up’: Australian students’ desires for relationships and sexuality education,’ Sexuality Research and Social Policy.
  • Kerr, L., Jones, T., Fisher, C. M. (2022). ‘Alleviating gender dysphoria: A qualitative study of perspectives of trans and gender diverse people’, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy.