Nurse Research


The Centre for Education and Nursing Research in Child Health (the ENRiCH Centre) is a shared endeavour of Children, Young People and Families - Hunter New England Local Health District and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle.

The aim of the Centre is to make available educational and professional development programmes and carry out research in children’s nursing which will, in turn, ensure high quality nursing care and services for children and their families.

ENRiCH Centre staff are currently involved in a number of nursing research projects within the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. All research undertaken within the hospital has approval from the Hunter New England Local Health District Ethics Committee. If your child is looked after in a ward or unit where these studies are being conducted, you may be asked if she or he can take part in one or more study. If you should decline it will not affect your child’s treatment in any way.

The ENRiCH Centre regularly publishes their work in nursing journals and presents their findings at a number of local, national and international meetings each year.

Ward J1 Medication Administration Safety Improvement Project

J1 is a 19 bed paediatric unit consisting of oncology and surgical paediatric patients. As part of health care provision J1 nursing staff administer (on average) 85 separate medications daily to paediatric patients.

This study is focusing on nursing practice and medication administration in order to gain an understanding of nurses’ views about the medication administration process on a busy paediatric ward. The study aim is to implement and evaluate strategies designed to enhance the safe administration of medication. The project is now well underway. A number of strategies are being implemented to enhance medication administration safety.

Ward H1 Enhancing family-centred care to improve the health and psychosocial outcomes of hospitalised children

This research project has been undertaken in collaboration with the Nursing Research and Practice Development Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. In the first instance, nursing staff are aiming to improve the process of patient information exchanged at change of shift.

This project will be evaluated from the end of 2011 with the research project concluding in June 2012.


Completed Paediatric Nursing Research

Parents’ perceptions and needs of children’s hospital discharge information 

Two linked descriptive qualitative studies, conducted twelve months apart aimed to identify parents’ perceptions of discharge information relating to a recent admission of their child to hospital.  Study one participants included parents (n=7) who telephoned a paediatric telephone triage service seeking information about their child’s post discharge care.  Study 2 included parents (n=12) of children admitted to a regional hospital’s general paediatric ward.  Data was collected via semi structured interviews conducted with parents following their child’s discharge from hospital.  The data was analysed using qualitative content analysis separately.  The studies were linked in so far as the results from study one informed the modification of the design of study two and its interview protocol. 

Both studies revealed verbal as well as written information is helpful to parents, plain language usage is important, messages from the health care team are sometimes inconsistent, and parents need information specific to their particular circumstances.

Source: Keatinge D, Stevenson K, Fitzgerald M. Parents’ perceptions and needs of children’s hospital discharge information.  International Journal of Nursing Practice, 15(4), 341-347, 2009.

Influences on parents’ decisions when determining whether their child is sick and what they do about it

Parents frequently find it difficult to decide whether their child is sick, how sick their child is, and if and when they should seek medical advice. The presence of fever appears to be one influence, less is known about other behaviours, signs and symptoms which may guide parents’ decisions.  This pilot study aimed to gain understanding of the factors parents monitor when determining if their previously well child is becoming unwell and how they respond to their child’s developing acute illness.  Twenty-five parents participated in the study.  The findings identified parents frequently focus on changes from normal behaviour and other signs and symptoms, not just fever.  Parents generally are readily able to articulate and assess their child's symptoms and severity of illness and should be credited for appropriate use of the emergency department.

Source: Winskill R, Keatinge D & Hancock S. Influences on parents’ decisions when determining whether their child is sick and what they do about it: A pilot study. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 17(2), 126-132, 2011.