JCU nursing researcher receives international recognition
First published 9 August 2012
A love of nursing and learning has led to a James Cook University researcher being acknowledged as one of the world’s best in her field.
Professor Linda Shields, a researcher from JCU’s Tropical Health Research Unit in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, has been inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
The award recognises the vital work nurses conduct every day.
Professor Shields was one of 14 international nursing researchers honoured last week at a ceremony in Brisbane during the International Nursing Research Congress.
Professor Shields, who has been a nurse since the age of 17, was awarded for her contribution to the profession and its impact across the world.
Speaking from Denmark, where she is attending the International Nursing History Conference, Professor Shields said she had had a “terrific”, but challenging career.
“The joys of nursing are the ability to make a difference to the lives of people,” she said.
“And the joys of research are that I can help make a real difference to help the lives of those people.”
While she has been at JCU for only eight weeks, Professor Shields is a born and bred Queenslander.
She said while she trained under the ‘old’ nursing system, she was in the first intake of nursing students at QUT in 1987, the first nursing degree offered in Queensland.
Since then she has worked as research chair at the University of Queensland, the Mater Children’s Hospital, the University of Limerick in Ireland and Curtin University in Western Australia.
At Curtin she was Chair in Paediatric and Child Health, which is her specialty.
Professor Shields said she believed her award was for her ‘family-centred care’ approach.
“It is a way of caring for children and their families when they come into a health service, which means care is delivered to the families as a unit, rather than the individual child, so the integrity of the family is protected.”
Professor Shields said she would be focusing her research on tropical areas in future, having previously worked in areas such as Indonesia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.
“This is very exciting, it’s an opportunity to broaden opportunities, to make a difference to a wide range of people,” she said.
“My position at JCU means I can extend my research to try and see if there’s any particular difficulties for people and families who live in tropical areas.
“If we find that people’s needs are different in tropical areas, we can ensure that our nursing care is geared so that those people receive the most appropriate care.”
Other recipients of the international accolade were Professor Patricia Davidson, director of the Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care at the University of Technology Sydney and Professor Helen Edwards, head of the Queensland University of Technology’s school of nursing.
Photos of Professor Shields are available.
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