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Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800 ext. 43355
I am currently a senior lecturer in the College of Health, School of Nursing. I am involved in several research teams, supervise research and teach both postgraduate and undergraduate students. My teaching areas include health law and ethics; clinical teaching; research; leadership; older people’s health and the supervision of research and practicum projects. I am particularly interested in critical approaches to analysing communication in healthcare and the extent to which every day, tacit assumptions by health professionals enhance or impede their relationships with service users. This interest includes how diverse, culturally shaped ethical assumptions drive differing viewpoints about optimal care. As part of my interest in communication in healthcare, I developed two highly successful short courses offered through Professional and Continuing Education: Supervision for health practitioners and Leadership through reflective practice, which I offer each year.
Prior to my academic role, I had an extensive history of clinical practice in nursing, midwifery and as a counsellor with a sexual health speciality. In the latter I used a narrative therapy approach, which explores the discourses underpinning everyday assumptions and the power relations of discursive positioning. I had 12 years’ experience as a counsellor (1998-2010) at The University of Auckland, working with students experiencing acute and long term mental and physical health disruptions, trauma and sexual health concerns. This diverse clinical experience means I have wide-reaching networks amongst practitioners who seek me out as a conference speaker, and as a professional supervisor.
The central questions driving my research: (1) how do health professionals optimise healthcare, quality of life and wellbeing for potentially vulnerable and marginalised populations, balancing both a duty of care and upholding rights? (2) How does cultural diversity in teams shape ethical assumptions and communication about healthcare, quality of life and wellbeing for potentially vulnerable and marginalised populations? My aim is to develop practice applications to enhance a critical approach to care delivery. These applications focus on effective communication between healthcare providers, service users and whanau about sexuality and sexual health, particularly where stigma affects care delivery and care seeking-behaviours.
I am currently a co-researcher on a Marsden funded project, ‘What counts as consent? Sexuality and ethical deliberation in residential aged care.’ Our research team was awarded $845,000 over three years for the project, which formally commenced on 1 March 2018. The aim of this project is to interrogate the notion of consent in the domain of sexuality and intimacy in residential aged care (RAC). The project addresses the questions: What kinds of ethical decisions are being made about expressions of sexuality in RAC? How do staff, family members and residents rationalise those decisions? This two-arm mixed methods project will survey RAC staff to assess knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about ageing and sexuality. Interviews with residents, family and staff will explore the experiences of these groups. Findings will contribute to debates shaping ethics and ageing, and discourses on consent and wellbeing. Our team has already conducted two pilot studies on this topic, which have resulted in me contributing to publications, conference engagements, media interviews, educational sessions, and hosting a symposium with an international expert.
My doctoral research used a poststructuralist, feminist discourse analytic approach to explore sexual health clinicians' teaching and women's learning about the two most common viral sexually transmitted infections; herpes simplex virus and human papilloma virus.
Findings shaped my subsequent research interest in women's and clinicians' accounts of gynaecological examinations. The research examined teaching and learning from the perspectives of clinicians, as well as exploring women's experiences. I completed MURF-funded qualitative study in relation to this topic, which was significant given the numbers of women in New Zealand who avoid/delay the following clinical situations: sexual health screening, investigations of gynaecological symptoms and colposocopy after abnormal cervical smears.
I completed a second MURF funded qualitative study into delayed diagnosis of endometrial cancer. The focus of the study was to interview women with a diagnosis of endometrial cancer, subsequent to treatment and hospital discharge, about the journey prior to referral to specialist services to find out what accounts for the delays between first symptoms and referral for specialist treatment.
I was a co-researcher for a study that has received $19,000 external funding from the Nursing Education Research Fund. The lead researcher was Assoc. Prof Margaret Brunton, in the School of Communication. The study was entitled: Improving RNs’ cross-cultural communication in culturally diverse team or work settings the New Zealand health sector. The study explored the role of cultural competence in facilitating acculturation and practice of overseas-trained Registered Nurses into public health organisations in NZ. This study sought to understand individual perceptions of the staff interface between ethnic cultures in the public health sector - what helps and what hinders.
Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Curriculum and Pedagogy (130200): Education (130000):
Health Counselling (111710): Health Promotion (111712): Maori Health (111713): Medical And Health Sciences (110000):
Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy (130209):
Mental Health (111714): Public Health and Health Services (111700)