After recently celebrating International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day, we look at how MACH-Track and MacHSR are providing nurses and midwives with research opportunities and developing future leaders that inspire others on the clinical frontline.
Professor Marie Gerdtz is Nursing Co-Director of MACH-Track – our fully funded career development pathway for clinicians pursuing post-registration clinical training – which welcomed research-minded nursing professionals for the first time in 2023.
“Midwives and nurses now have the opportunity to bring their much-needed insights to clinical research and help improve the patient experience,” says Professor Gerdtz.
“We strongly encourage nurses and midwives with an interest in research to apply for MACH-Track when it opens in early June.”
Professor Rochelle Wynne is Co-Director of Nursing for the MacHSR program, which has almost completed its inaugural year.
“Providing health services research (HSR) training fellowships to clinically experienced midwives and nurses, will positively impact evidence implementation and research translation at the coalface.”
With MACH-Track about to open for applications and the second MacHSR cohort soon to be announced, we spoke with three of our future nursing and midwifery leaders to discover how the programs are informing their experiences so far.
Ingrid Sutherland, Clinical Nurse Consultant at the Royal Children’s Hospital, began her MACH-Track journey earlier this year.
Her PhD is focused on how children with developmental disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse families access specialist care, and is already meeting connections supporting her research.
“MACH-Track Nursing Director, Professor Marie Gerdtz, and my nursing supervisors, are further developing my critical thinking and helping refine my research question so I can contribute to meaningful developments in care,” says Ms Sutherland.
“At MACH-Track meetings, you can discuss research ideas, and there’s always people with extensive research experience to support your own development.”
Through MACH-Track and her PhD, she aims to develop the research skills to help address issues affecting a family’s ability to look after their child and access specialist healthcare.
“And take these learnings and connections, to represent nurses’ role in delivering care, and to broadly advocate for comprehensive accessible healthcare for children with developmental disability.”
Jake McMahon is a Cancer Nurse and Trial Coordinator at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, whose PhD projects are focused on de-implementing low-value pressure injuries practices in acute settings.
Mr McMahon says MacHSR is supporting his work through the network of people he meets virtually and face to face.
“My mentor is Professor Joan Ostaszkiewicz, Director of Aged Care Research at NARI, who’s connecting me with relevant information and bringing in the right people.”
From a career perspective, Mr McMahon says he also wants to prioritise developing networks in every HSR sector, rather than working in silos: “The program has already given me that.”
As the largest healthcare workforce, Mr McMahon says it is vital nurses have a voice in HSR.
“To improve patient health care, there needs to be people thinking with a HSR brain who are there, 24 hours a day.”
Eleanor Johnson, Research Midwife at Northern Health and Lactation Consultant at Western Health, is focused on partnering with consumers to co-design comprehensive abortion care in Melbourne’s North to improve the patient experience and promote equitable access.
Ms Johnson says she is “grateful to be part of MacHSR’s inaugural year”.
“I wonder how it would have been possible to do my projects without the time and support from MACH.”
Supported by her multidisciplinary co-investigators, Ms Johnson also has regular catch ups with supervisor, Professor Bodil Rasmussen, Chair in Nursing at Western Health and Deakin University, who is “always available when things come up”.
“Professor Rasmussen brings expertise in qualitative research. She has helped review my protocol and given me great advice around funding bodies and writing progress reports.
Ms Johnson recommends the program to anyone interested in HSR.
“The program will help to expand your research knowledge and support you to ensure your project makes a meaningful impact.”