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From patient care to research

Inspired by her nursing experience at Royal North Shore Hospital, Julia Pilowsky pursued a full-time PhD at UTS focusing on the impact of mental health disorders on ICU patients.

After discovering there was little local or international academic research in this area—and with the support of a mentor—she delved into this unexplored territory.

“It’s always about improving patient care,” she said. “Using your critical eye is the best way to find projects that might be useful and relevant to explore in the future.” 

Julia’s journey from ICU clinician to researcher was one of five highlighted at a recent NSLHD/UTS Research Showcase event held at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Associate Professor Eamon Merrick said the showcase aimed to encourage clinicians to delve deeper.  

If they can see an issue or have a burning clinical question they want to answer, they can take their own initiative and do research.
Associate Professor Eamon Merrick

He said nurses and midwives are currently involved in 71 active research studies across the district. Since 2018, they have secured $9 million in extra funding to investigate a range of clinical areas.  

“This is huge,” he said.

Eamon said there are all sorts of pathways that clinicians undertake to do research ¬— some do doctorates while others do research in their own time without funding. 

But ultimately, the work they do makes an enormous difference. “The majority of research that happens is clinician-led and it is done for better clinical outcomes and patient experience,” he said.

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