2024 Excellence in Research

Dr Sharon O’Brien – Perth Childrens Hospital, Child and Adolescent Health Service

Sharon has been a paediatric nurse for 25 years commencing her first research role in 2009. Completing her PhD in 2023, she is currently the PCH ED Research Coordinator, coordinating a busy programme and a team of 6 research nurses. The centre of her thesis was the Australasian Bronchiolitis Clinical Practice Guide of which she was the lead author. This document now informs paediatric practice in the management of bronchiolitis throughout hospitals in Australasia. One of Sharon’s talents as a researcher is to never say ‘no’ to problems presented to her. She listens, finds solutions, and provides support. PCH ED is now an exemplar research site recognised nationally and internationally with Sharon always available to actively supports junior researchers, provide advice with a pragmatic and sensible approach, and help to translate study outcomes effectively. In 2019 she was instrumental in setting up the ED Consumer reference group, allowing the voice of the consumer to be included in the planning of studies as well as the interpretation of the outcomes. Offering families the opportunity to be involved in research demonstrates that children are receiving the most up-to-date quality nursing care informed by high standards of research.

Dr Sara Bayes – Edith Cowan University

Sara is the Professorial Research Fellow – Midwifery, at Edith Cowan University following a meteoric international research career, and is responsible for instigating, developing, and maintaining a research and research training culture that translates to make a real difference in the clinical area and beyond. She also holds an honorary appointment with SMHS being based at FSH 2 days a week where she has developed a program of research in collaboration with key leaders. Sara has a passion for midwifery which is demonstrated in the many ways she shares her skills and gives time to provide guidance to authors, researchers, and students. This is reflected in her volunteer work for the Australian College of Midwives which spans 20 years, and her out-of-hours generosity to provide career advice and feedback through the Midwifery Practice Review initiative. Sara nurtures aspiring academics and her time and patience has provided many platforms to launch new careers. She is an ideas person who talks the talk and walks the walk, with her vision to provide an inter-university network to build relationships and share ideas being implemented across 3 WA universities. Sara’s research makes a difference; she has authored 58 published peer-reviewed journal articles. Her interests including midwifery workforce retention and her publications in this area have provided much needed evidence to help address the current workforce shortages. Sara’s advanced research skills, caring and approachable nature have also resulted in her helping 14 students to gain PhDs.

Dr Alannah Cooper – Subiaco Hospital, St John of God Health Care 

Alannah leads the Nursing and Midwifery program of research at St John of God Subiaco Hospital. She has built the program by ensuring caregivers understand the importance of an evidence base for practice in the disciplines. To achieve this Alannah has facilitated journal clubs introducing caregivers to published research, empowering them to critique evidence, consider context, and adopt relevant best practices.  Alannah has collaborated with clinical staff in conducting research in areas that include oncology, palliative care, peri-operative care, midwifery, and workforce. Alannah strongly believes research should be meaningful and relevant so it can be translated into practice and beyond to benefit all clinicians and consumers.  Alannah’s practice is intrinsically collaborative. She encourages caregivers to co-design projects and conduct these in accordance with the highest ethical standards resulting in high quality outputs. When sharing project outputs Alannah is generous towards caregivers who are motivated to present their work to the wider nursing and midwifery communities through local and national conferences. They are also encouraged to co-author papers for publication in relevant high-quality journals thereby contributing to the professional knowledge base in the disciplines.