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Austin Health Clinical School of Nursing

The La Trobe University / Austin Health Clinical School of Nursing

The La Trobe University/Austin Health Clinical School of Nursing aims to provide a world leading clinical and theoretical tertiary university nursing education and workforce development in collaboration with Austin Health, as well as to apply, undertake and publish clinical, theoretical, educational and methodological research in nursing in partnership with Austin Health staff. The purpose of the Austin Clinical school is to bridge the theory/research/practice gap on all levels of tertiary nursing education, to strengthen the evidence base of nursing practice and nursing education through collaborative clinical, theoretical and educational nursing research, as well as mentoring Austin Health nursing staff and contribute to the development of a strong nursing research culture at Austin Health.

The Clinical School was established in 2005 as a joint initiative between La Trobe University and Austin Health, and is currently led by Professor David Edvardsson and a team of one senior lecturer, four lecturers and a number of sessional teachers for tutorials, workshops and clinical teaching. Core business of the clinical school involves planning, delivering and researching the teaching and learning of 240 undergraduate nursing students per semester (120 second year and 120 third year students), as well as teaching 107 postgraduate nursing students, and mentoring and supervising about 23 postgraduate nursing students. Core business also involves conducting and facilitating clinical, theoretical, educational and methodological research projects within nursing across Austin Health and beyond, and the current research activities gravitates around research themes such as person-centred care and care of older people in long- and short term care, cancer care and benefit finding in adversity, cardiology care and outcomes, educational interventions, tobacco use and health outcomes, and wellbeing interventions in older age and dementia.

As part of the strategic direction of research for the School of Nursing and Midwifery to grow its research footprint in terms of industry partnerships, international collaborations, research income and outputs, the Austin Clinical School is working strategically towards complementing the current teaching-intensive focus with increasing the externally funded research activities within and beyond Austin Health. The Austin Clinical School is an active centre for clinical nursing education and research, with ongoing teaching and research collaborations with nationally and internationally highly-ranked universities, providing training to a range of Masters and PhD students from Austin Health and beyond, as well as increasing external competitive research funding to support the research activities ongoing and planned.
The activities of Clinical School are guided by a Steering Committee (currently operating as a caretaker interim working group), which has representatives from Austin Health clinical practice; nursing executive; director of nursing; education department; placements team and nursing research, as well as representatives from La Trobe University such as undergraduate and postgraduate course coordinators, placements team, research director, director of teaching and learning, head of school and clinical school staff. 

The key activities of the Austin Clinical School include:
  1. Planning, delivering and researching nursing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning.
  2. Conducting and facilitating clinical, theoretical, educational and methodological research projects within nursing.
  3. Promoting nursing research and facilitating a strong nursing research culture among Austin Health clinicians and the wider Austin Health nursing community.
  4. Providing research education to Austin Health nurses and workforce development initiatives to Austin Health.
  5. Encouraging and mentoring nursing clinicians to disseminate results of research activities through conference presentations and publications.
  6. Supporting nursing clinicians to translate research activities into clinical practice, education and/or policy within and beyond Austin Health.
  7. Advising and mentoring nursing clinicians aiming to undertake higher degree research studies.
  8. Being a hub for information, coordination and advocacy for nursing research at Austin Health.