Nursing Research and Practice Development Unit

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The Nursing Research and Practice Development Unit aims to ensure that care delivered at the Children's Hospital Westmead meets the needs of patients and their families.

The Unit is currently undertaking a five-year practice development program, which is progressively being introduced to clinical units throughout the hospital. Activities in the program encourage staff to reflect on current practice, identify the need for change, and challenge themselves and each other to do better where possible.

It is envisaged that engagement in these types of activities will lead to improved teamwork and staff satisfaction, sustainable changes in practice, and ultimately improved family-centred care.

Research achievements

The Unit is leading an international project which is reviewing the theory behind how practice development is evaluated.

It is working in partnership with State and International organisations on a research project involving the practical application of practice development principles (REACH). REACH offers a pathway to lifelong learning through an effective appraisal process, an attributes framework, a personal development contract, reflective practice, the development of a portfolio and formal and work-based learning opportunities.
The Unit is also examining the factors that increase facilitator development. It is leading and evaluating training and opportunities for development, for example, via week-long schools each year that enable health professionals to learn about practice development methodology and methods and develop skills as facilitators.

A framework of Teamwork-Learning-Change, developed by Professor Val Wilson, is being used to lead the State-wide implementation and evaluation of the Essentials of Care Program (NSW Health initiative) in paediatrics. This program of work involves all members of the team in realising an espoused philosophy of family-centred care.