In her own words
My time at La Trobe University has been very rich and rewarding. I arrived in 1989 with a background in the Social Sciences and Education but as my previous research had examined the culture of nursing practice, I was recruited into the School of Nursing and Midwifery. I had no plans to stay at La Trobe but discovered the advantage of working in this female-dominated school with its family friendly policies which helped me manage the constant challenge of balancing work, family and the rest of life.
This was the largest school in the University and I joined the then main campus at the Abbottsford Convent. I appreciated the gardens and historic buildings, but not the encounters with the occasional snake after late lectures.
After transferring to the Bundoora campus with the School I enjoyed the opportunity to engage with scholars from many different disciplines and enjoy the ethos and experiences offered on campus. I led the postgraduate research program, established the first professional doctorate for nursing leaders and led a curriculum reform.
A further challenge came with the appointment as foundation Professor/Director of the La Trobe/Austin Clinical School located on the Repatriation Hospital Campus and then in the new Austin Health Building. I found myself in a busy hospital culture with further exciting research opportunities and collaborations. Our fledgling clinical school tested a new model of nursing education in partnership with the hospital. I had a wonderful team and it was great fun.
Over the years I provided leadership to a number of multi-disciplinary, multi-method research teams in palliative care and conducted invited research and research consultancies in Canada, the UK, USA, China, Thailand and Sweden. I was the recipient of a number of international awards and held a ten-year Foreign Professor appointment with the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Sweden which funded me to travel there to teach and research. I continue to assist Karolinska with promotion assessments.
In my final years I was fortunate to be involved with the development of research career development policies, strategies and mentorship at La Trobe and through government research roles. Appointed as Associate Dean (Research) and Head of the Health Sciences Research School with oversight of the institutes and research centres, proved very challenging and stimulating as we established new supportive research strategies.
My final position was as foundation Professor and Head of the Research Education and Development Unit in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) portfolio. As a research ‘tragic’ who loves hearing others research stories and mentoring young researchers, this role suited me well.
Now as an Emeritus Professor I am still writing up papers from a research grant and providing consultancies to La Trobe. In addition, I am a Principal of Research Coaching Australia, which provides a series of individualised research career coaching sessions to academics wishing to strengthen their research and research career. In this capacity I have coached over 60 academics from all academic levels in Australia and Fiji.