Nursing Research Unit

The Nursing Research Unit aims to improve the care and outcomes for infants, children and young people within the context of an evidence-based paradigm. 

The work of the research unit is primarily to facilitate debate, promote research and provide education to enhance the development of best nursing practice.

The unit facilitates a number of initiatives across the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network to drive and develop nursing and midwifery research capability and capacity to inform practice and achieve excellence in paediatric care. 

To read more about our research activities, you can read our Nursing Research Monograph 2016 - 2017.

Please contact Rose Ferris if you have any enquiries about the Nursing Research Unit.

Current projects

> Evaluation of the SCHN 12-month development program for newly registered nursing graduates as a model for the evaluation of other nursing education programs

The Transition to Professional Practice program was developed with the purpose of the first year RN acquiring skills and confidence to successfully integrate known theory with practice and confidence to progress to a confident and competent member of the paediatric hearth care team. The aim of this research project is to the 12 month program is to develop a model for the evaluation of other nursing education programs.

> Development of an early detection tool to identify deterioration in child and adolescent mental health patients

The project evolved from the initial objective and now aims to better understand what restraint and seclusion data and practices represent. Understanding these practices will inform the potential development of a tool or other de-escalation strategies to reduce restraint and/or seclusion.

> Who are our consumers?

The change in migration patterns has several potential implications for national health care services in terms of meeting the needs of immigrant families, increased health service demand and understanding the engagement of immigrant families in health care. However, it is difficult to extrapolate recent Australian migration patterns to determine the impact and utilisation of paediatric services. This study aims to describe the linguistic and cultural diversity of patients and their family’s attending SCHN health care services as a first measure to better understand who our consumers are.   The project aims to determine the linguistic and cultural diversity of patients attending the SCHN through a retrospective audit.

> Translational Research Project SAFE ED: Partnership project with A/Prof. Jennifer Fraser, University of Sydney

A pilot study to implement and evaluate a child injury protocol in rural (Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie) and metropolitan (Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network) emergency departments. The aim is to determine if this protocol improves clinician documentation and referral of suspected abuse cases, and clinician self-efficacy and outcome expectations when responding to non-accidental injury.

> Training package for the acute paediatric care workforce to augment the existing Translational Research Project SAFE ED: Partnership project

The aims of the 12 month project are to augment efforts to provide culturally competent care in the acute setting for Aboriginal families with children involved, or at risk of becoming involved in child protection services, and to translate research evidence into a culturally safe model of care for Aboriginal children and evaluate short-term outcomes.

The research team


Professor Marilyn Cruickshank, Nursing Research Director, email:

Marilyn is Professor of Nursing (Research) at Sydney Children's Hospitals Network and UTS, and is a Registered Nurse with post graduate qualifications in paediatric intensive care, paediatric mental health, paediatric HIV, and, neurology and neuroscience nursing.  Marilyn developed a keen interest in research as a Clinical Nurse Coordinator, developing guidelines and policies for maternal transmission and for children with HIV in hospitals and the community. She is passionate about policy development and implementation strategies for antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial stewardship and healthcare associated infection.


Dr Suzanne Sheppard-Law (Polis), Senior Research Fellow, email:

Suzanne Sheppard-Law (formerly Polis) research interests lie in epidemiology, statistics, chronic disease management and qualitative research methodologies and design. She has coordinated numerous clinical trials, coordinated a national observational pediatric study and has been a principle investigator for five category 3 and 4 research grants.  Sue is passionate about educating the next generation of nurses to engage in research.

> Other Research Team Members

Key publications


Pediatric Nurses’ Perceptions of Medication Safety and Medication Error: A Mixed Methods Study. Alomari, A., Wilson, V., Solman, A., Bajorek, B. & Tinsley, P. 2018.  Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing, 41, 94-110.

Exploring the experiences of neophyte nurse mentors: A qualitative study. Fernandez, R., Sheppard-Law, S., Curtis, S., Bancroft, J. & Smith, W. 2018. Nurse education in practice, 29, 76-81.

Effects of the Australian National Hand Hygiene Initiative after 8 years on infection control practices, health-care worker education, and clinical outcomes: a longitudinal study.  Grayson, M. L., Stewardson, A. J., Russo, P. L., Ryan, K. E., Olsen, K. L., Havers, S. M., Greig, S. & Cruickshank, M. 2018. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 18, 1269-1277.

Improving the utilisation of nitrous oxide in paediatric patients to manage procedural pain and procedural anxiety.  Kornman, K., Wilson, V., Tinsley, P., Watt, J. & Sheppard-Law, S. 2018. Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing, 1-13.

Finding the Balance: Individual versus group education in a tertiary paediatric diabetes service.  Mikler, K. 2018. Australian Diabetes Educator, 21.

Novice clinical nurse educator’s experience of a self-directed learning, education and mentoring program: a qualitative study.  Sheppard-Law, S., Curtis, S., Bancroft, J., Smith, W. & Fernandez, R. 2018. Contemporary nurse, 1-12.

Factors associated with non-adherence to HBV antiviral therapy. Sheppard-Law, S., Zablotska-Manos, I., Kermeen, M., Holdaway, S., Lee, A., George, J., Zekry, A. & Maher, L. 2018. Antiviral therapy.

Utilisation of hepatocellular carcinoma screening in Australians at risk of hepatitis B virus‐related carcinoma and prescribed anti‐viral therapy. Sheppard‐Law, S., Zablotska‐Manos, I., Kermeen, M., Holdaway, S., Lee, A., George, J., Zekry, A. & Maher, L. 2018. Journal of clinical nursing.


Pediatric Nurses’ Perceptions of Medication Safety and Medication Error: A Mixed Methods Study. Alomari, A., Wilson, V., Solman, A., Bajorek, B. & Tinsley, P. Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing, 1-17.

Determining the key drivers and mitigating factors that influence the role of the Nurse and or Midwife Consultant: A cross-sectional survey. Fernandez, R. S., Sheppard-Law, S. & Manning, V. Contemporary Nurse, 1-23.

Factors contributing to nursing team work in an acute care tertiary hospital. Polis, S., Higgs, M., Manning, V., Netto, G. & Fernandez, R. Collegian, 24, 19-25.

Adherence to Hepatitis B Antiviral Therapy: A Qualitative Study. Polis, S., Zablotska-Manos, I., Zekry, A. & Maher, L. Gastroenterology Nursing, 40, 239-246.

Factors associated with HBV virological breakthrough. Sheppard-Law, S., Zablotska-Manos, I., Kermeen, M., Holdaway, S., Lee, A., George, J., Zekry, A., Dore, G. & L, M.  Antiviral Therapy, 22, 53-60.


Similarities and Differences in Nurse-Reported Care Rationing Between Critical Care, Surgical, and Medical Specialties. Higgs, M., Fernandez, R., Polis, S. & Manning, V. J Patient Saf.

Factors associated with medication adherence in patients living with cirrhosis. Polis, S., Zang, L., Mainali, B., Pons, R., Pavendranathan, G., Zekry, A. & Fernandez, R. Journal of clinical nursing, 25, 204-212.

The Australasian Hepatology Association consensus guidelines for the provision of adherence support to patients with hepatitis C on direct acting antivirals. Richmond, J. A., Sheppard-Law, S., Mason, S. & Warner, S. L. Patient Prefer Adherence, 10, 2479-2489.


A longitudinal study of aspects of a hospital's family-centred nursing: changing practice through data translation. White C, Wilson V, J Adv Nurs 71(1):100-14

Parental experiences with a hospital-based bead programme for children with congenital heart disease. Wilson V, Chando S. J Clin Nurs 24(3-4):439-46