Ms Lael

Ms Lael Ridgway

RN RM GCHEd(CTL) PgDAdNsg (Child, Family & Comm) MNSc IBCLC

Lecturer in Maternal and Child Health Nursing & Midwifery , Coordinator - Master of Child, Family and Community Nursing and Nurse Immuniser Programs.

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Room 329, George Singer Building, Melbourne (Bundoora)

Research centres

Judith Lumley Centre


Nursing, Midwifery, Child Family and Community Nursing, Lactation, Research and Higher Education



Membership of professional associations


Area of study

Public Health

Brief profile

Lael has many years' experience working in various fields of nursing and midwifery, including as a private consultant. She has postgraduate qualifications as a Midwife, Maternal and Child Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant and in education. She has been employed in both undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education since 2003. She currently coordinates the Child Family and Community Nursing and Immunisation programs at La Trobe University.

Lael has contributed to many aspects of practice and policy development in Maternal and Child Health nursing and has clinical practice experience as a Maternal and Child Health nurse in Victoria and the Northern Territory. She has worked in partnership with senior researchers in the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, Judith Lumley Centre, University of North Texas and is expanding this to include Kansas University in 2017.

Her key areas of interest are in early childhood health and developmental surveillance, and primary health care of families and improving practice through the use of information and communication technology.



Research interests

Perinatal and Child Health

- Lael's key research areas are in maternal and child health practice, child and family health nursing, infant mental health, early identification of Autism and information and communication technology in health care.

Teaching units

  • Maternal and Child Health Nursing
  • Child and Family Health
  • Community Health
  • Nurse Immuniser
  • Midwifery

Recent publications

Journal Articles

Ridgway, L., Cramer, R., McLachlan, H. L., Forster, D. A., Cullinane, M., Shafiei, T., & Amir, L. H. (2016). Breastfeeding Support in the Early Postpartum: Content of Home Visits in the SILC Trial. Birth, 43(4), 303-312.

McLachlan, H. L., Forster, D. A., Amir, L. H., Cullinane, M., Shafiei, T., Watson, L. F., ... & Small, R. (2016). Supporting breastfeeding In Local Communities (SILC) in Victoria, Australia: a cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 6(2), e008292.

Bryant, E., Ridgway, L., & Lucas, S.R. N. (2016). Attachment icebergs: Maternal and child health nurses' evaluation of infant-caregiver attachment. Community Practitioner, 89(5), 39.

Ridgway, L., Mitchell, C. & Sheean, F. (2011) Information and communication technology (ICT) use in child and family nursing: What do we know and where to now? Contemporary Nurse, 40(1), 118-129, DOI: 10.5172/conu.2011.40.1.118

Barbaro, J., Ridgway, L. & Dissanayake, C. (2011). Developmental Surveillance of Infants and Toddlers by Maternal and Child Health Nurses in an Australian Community-Based Setting: Promoting the Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 26(4), 334-337.


Conference presentations

2013 - 5th National Association of Maternal, Child, Family and Community Nurses Conference.

2012 – ANTS: 14th National Nurse Educators Conference (11-13 April, 2013, Perth WA.) Keeping up-to-date: Professional development of the Victorian Maternal and Child Health nursing workforce

2011 4th National Association of Maternal, Child, Family and Community Nurses Conference. Continuing Professional Development: Supporting portfolio development for Maternal, Child & Family Health Nurses

2010 6th International QEC conference. An exploration of advanced nursing practices within a Victorian Early Parenting Service

2009 3rd National Association of Maternal, Child, Family and Community Nurses Conference Nurses’ views on electronic health records used in the Victorian Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service

2009 3rd National Association of Maternal, Child, Family and Community Nurses Conference ‘Prospectively identifying infants at risk of an ASD through the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Service: Results from the Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS)’ (Barbaro, Dissanayake & Ridgway)

2009 4th International Conference on Community Health Nursing Research Use of information technology in primary health care: the views and experiences of nurses working in the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Service, Victoria, Australia

2008 1st National Indigenous Family and Community Strengths Conference Challenges for the Educator: Incorporating a Strengths-based Perspective into Child, Family and Community Nursing Studies


Invited DVD reviews (2010) Australian Journal of Child and Family Health Nurses

‘Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip: Education Module’ (DVD) Authors: Leo Donnan and Richard Angliss




Older publications

2009 Member Maternal and Child Health Program Standards Working Party with DEECD/MAV

2007-8 Member Key Age and Stage Program Resource Guide Working Party with DEECD/MAV

2003 Member MCH SIG Issues Paper Reference Group

2004 Invited Member Collaborative (DHS/MAV/MCH) Working Party addressing MCH  issues with MAV and DHS representatives.

MCH SIG Issues Paper Reference Group (2004) Exploration of Maternal and Child Health Nursing Practice in Victoria, Australia 2001-2003 Issues Paper: February 2004 ANF:Melbourne



‘Raising Children’ (DVD) Authors: Raising Children Network 2008.

Research projects

  • Grants:


2015 – 2016    Building Healthy Communities Research Focus Area. Facilitating the early identification of autism through a mobile application. J. Barbaro, L. Ridgway, C. Dissanayake. $29,972.67

2013 – Innovation Grant Vic Govt DBDSI. Measuring the Impact of Infant Care at Sleep Transition: Monitoring Effects on Infant Stress Regulation When Exposed to Response Based Settling Interventions.  In collaboration with University North Texas, Safe Sleep Space and Mercy Health.

2006 – 2008 Telstra Community Development Fund: Prospective identification of autism in infancy. In collaboration with School of Psychology, La Trobe University.


Professional Activities and Consultancies

2015 Member Expert Maternal and Child Health Advisory Group, Department of Education and Training, Government of Victoria

2012-2013 Executive member, Victorian Association of Maternal and Child Health Nurses (VAMCHN)