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Australian first for Curtin Professor of Nursing

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Professor Linda Shields

A Professor of Paediatric and Child Health Nursing at Curtin University has become the first nurse in the country to gain a higher doctorate, Doctor of Medicine degree.

Professor Linda Shields, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, will receive the highest academic award in medicine for making an exceptional, original contribution to medical science through her research that examines the relevance of family-centred care in paediatrics.

The 10-year extensive body of work includes 31 manuscripts and highlights that those who work with children in the healthcare sector should question the widely used model called ‘family-centred care’.

Family-centred care (FCC) means that during hospital admission, care is planned by the health staff around the whole family, not just the individual child. Professor Shields advocates that FCC does not always work, and family members are disadvantaged by having to participate in the care of their child when it may not be the best thing for them.

Professor Shields’ contribution to nursing research and education has been distinctive, and she has made a difference internationally through her positions as a professor at the University of Hull and the University of Limerick.

She is the author of one book and more than 100 other publications that focus on paediatrics and child health, and many more on other health related subjects.

Debra Cerasa, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia, congratulated Professor Shields on her remarkable achievement.

“To have the determination and discipline to undertake research over a decade is inspiring.” Ms Cerasa said.

“Professor Shields’ outstanding reputation and service to the field of nursing, including her commitment to lifelong learning exemplifies the RCNA’s mission to enhance research and the promotion and recognition of professional excellence in nursing for the benefit of the health of the Australian community.”

Professor Shields will be officially presented with her higher doctorate at the University of Queensland’s graduation ceremony on Friday 16 December 2011.

Note to editor:
• According to the records of the Royal College of Nursing Australia (RCNA) Professor Linda Shields is the only recipient of this award in Australia.

Kristy Jones / Kristy Jones, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 9085, Email: /

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