Clinicians from three local health districts joined senior health leaders to officially launch the NSW Regional Health Partners Scholarship Program on Wednesday 19 February.
Over 30 Knowledge Translation scholarships have been awarded by NSW Regional Health Partners to a variety of health professionals including nurses, midwives and physios across the Central Coast, Hunter New England and Mid North Coast LHDs.
NSW Regional Health Partners has funded the scholarships with the aim of building the capacity of health professionals to incorporate research into their healthcare roles.
“Currently a gap often exists between the best evidence known and the care patients actually receive in our health system,” explains Professor Christine Jorm, Director of NSW Regional Health Partners.
“This ‘translation gap’ creates needlessly poor outcomes for individuals and communities.”
The KT scholarship funds clinicians to undertake a 12-week online course at the University of Newcastle, where they will learn how to identify gaps between the care that is recommended for patients by research and the care patients actually receive day-to-day.
Delivered by A/Prof Jed Duff from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, the course will teach students how to assess barriers to change, influence others and implement evidence-based solutions in their local setting. Scholarship recipients will then be provided with 9 months of additional support to put in place what they’ve learned.
Anna Edgar, one of the recipients of the scholarship, is the Rural Clinical Services and Research Coordinator for Hunter New England Local Health District. She sees the scholarships as an important way of improving rural health.
“[The scholarships] are offering rural clinicians a chance to drive their own research and look for strategies that will actually address problems in their local area.”
She agrees that simply publishing research in peer-reviewed journals, while important, is not enough to make sure it becomes embedded into routine healthcare or decision-making.
“Let’s bring research out of the elite journals and off our CVs and actually get the findings into these communities. The scholarship is helping with methodologies that really direct that process,” explains Anna.
Photo L-R: Michael DiRienzo, Chief Executive, Hunter New England Local Health District; A/Prof Jed Duff, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle; Ellen Newman, Operations Manager NSWRHP; and Prof Christine Jorm, Director, NSWRHP.