PhD candidate wins inaugural studentship

Alysia Coventry, a Senior Research Officer at the Nursing Research Institute (NRI) and PhD candidate at the Centre for Palliative Care and the University of Melbourne has been awarded the inaugural PhD scholarship by the Centre for Palliative Care and the University of Melbourne’s Department of Nursing.

The inaugural PhD scholarship was awarded to Alysia to pursue PhD research on improving bereavement support for families of patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This prestigious three-year scholarship aims to broaden the scope of higher learning and research opportunities across palliative care in Australia. Subsequent to this award, Alysia was offered a prestigious and highly competitive Commonwealth-funded scholarship based on outstanding prior academic work and the quality of her PhD proposal.

Alysia has worked as an ICU nurse for more than 20 years, and during this time she has witnessed first-hand the difficulties families face when a loved one dies in this setting. It was after she completed her Master of Philosophy into families’ perceptions of end-of-life care in the ICU that she discovered, through a systematic review of the literature, that bereavement care for families was an area in need of focus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how grieving in isolation heightens distress experienced by family during the bereavement period.

Alysia’s PhD will investigate strategies to better support families and to improve delivery of bereavement care.

Alysia has been an academic for ACU in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine for over 12 years and, since July 2019, she has worked part time as a senior research officer with Professor Elizabeth McInnes and the NRI in Melbourne via internal secondment.

Professor McInnes, Professor of Nursing at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Deputy Director of the NRI, was Alysia’s principle supervisor when she undertook her MPhil, which she completed in 2017. Professor McInnes is now Alysia’s associate supervisor for her PhD.

The NRI is a partnership between ACU, St Vincent’s Health Australia (Sydney), and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. Established in 2009, the NRI is at the forefront of nurse-led implementation research.

Together with clinical, policy, and academic partners, the NRI specialises in the implementation of scientific research examining ways to promote evidence translation in the areas of stroke management, hospital-acquired complications, and de-implementation of low-value nursing care. Staff at the NRI are also involved in building research capacity at St Vincent’s Health Australia, supporting clinicians through a mentoring program and offering higher degree research supervision.

Researchers at NRI have skills in systematic reviews (qualitative and quantitative), randomised controlled trials, process evaluations, and qualitative research. They collaborate with world-class national and international researchers and policy makers including: Agency for Clinical Innovation, Clinical Excellence Commission, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, and the Stroke Foundation.

You can read more about Alysia’s work on the St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne website and in Health Times.


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