Western Health Partnership

The Western Health Partnership provides academic and professional leadership to clinical and academic health staff.

The Western Health Partnership was established in 2014 and drives collaborative clinical research that provides Western Health staff and students with the opportunity to engage in clinically focussed, multidisciplinary research and training across acute, chronic, rehabilitation, and community healthcare settings. The Partnership is committed to improve patient safety outcomes, patient experience of healthcare, and support the role of nurses and midwives in their workforce development, with the ultimate aim to deliver world class health outcomes for our large and diverse community in Melbourne’s west.

The Western Health Partnership is unique as is the only partnership dedicated to both nursing and midwifery, with clinical chairs for each discipline.

The Partnership is led by Professors Bodil Rasmussen (Nursing) and Linda Sweet (Midwifery) and is supported by a highly-skilled team of researchers from a range of backgrounds working closely with clinicians and researchers from all health disciplines. Postgraduate research students (honours, master's, PhD’s) also contribute to the Partnership’s research activities.

Our research agenda

The Partnership’s researchers specialise in developing robust evidence to how best to support and care for all people, particularly those living with chronic and complex conditions and their families, and childbearing women and their families. We focus on health care service research that partners with consumers in co-design, with particular interest in the areas of chronic conditions management, technology use in healthcare, health workforce development, gender and health, and enhancing maternity services.

Broad areas of research:

Chronic and complex conditions

  • Improving Diabetes Management in the Acute Inpatient Settings
  • Progression of Diabetic Complications Study – PREDICT
  • Excellence in Bariatric Care using barriers and enablers to inform best care
  • Psychosocial impact of COVID-19 on patients and health care providers with five arms involving:
    • nurses & midwives (including Danish arm)
    • Allied Health Professionals and Doctors;
    • Nursing and Midwifery Educators (including Adelaide arm);
    • Undergraduate midwifery and nursing students, and
    • Impact of COVID-19 on patient care and experience:
    • experiences and perceptions of patients with chronic disease, multi-morbidities or cancer, and their health care providers
  • Improving pregnancy care and outcomes for women through a dedicated bariatric clinic
  • Use of antenatal corticosteroids for women with diabetes to prevent neonatal respiratory distress

Technology in healthcare

  • Consumers’ views of the use of Telehealth
  • An online Guided Self-Determination Program to improve self-Management in Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes, Adults with Type 2 and Low Social Economic Student transition to University.
  • A novel website for supporting healthy eating amongst disadvantaged individuals with type 2 diabetes
  • Empowerment in life: digitally supported intervention for people with complex type 2 diabetes and co-morbidity in outpatient clinics (collaboration with Copenhagen University)
  • Improving the mental health of cancer survivors with an online mindfulness program: a partnership model to impact on cancer care
  • Breastfeeding information and support: Development of a website for women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  • Exploring childbearing women’s use of digital media for pregnancy, labour, and birth.
  • The influence of technology on developing ‘hands-on’ clinical skills

Health Workforce

  • The Working Together project to co-design, trial, and evaluate improved nursing and midwifery workload allocation and management practices
  • Examining nurses’ and midwives’ attitudes, perceptions, acceptance, and use of an Electronic Medical Record System (with an arm of the project in Allied Health and Medicine)
  • Evaluation of the junior medical staff education program in Newborn Services
  • Evaluation of the implementation of the Registered Undergraduate Student of Midwifery role
  • Evaluating the outcomes of single and double check medication administration
  • Exploring midwifery students’ development of critical thinking, workplace based learning and facilitation, and transition to practice
  • The role of mentoring in enhancing midwifery workforce

Gender and health

  • Transition to parenthood: Sleep and wellbeing among fathers
  • Fertility and childbearing concerns and related information needs and preferences of women with chronic kidney disease
  • Clinical trials of Lactamo, a device to assist breastfeeding women
  • Improving breastfeeding rates through pump hire for mothers of premature babies

Enhancing maternity services

  • Antenatal education and support programs for women giving birth at Western Health
  • Ten year evaluation of the publicly funded homebirth service.
  • Improving the induction of labour process
  • Evaluation of the MaternityCares project (a multifaceted service improvement evaluation)
  • The experience of giving or receiving maternity care during COVID-19 pandemic (a 5 cohort study)
  • The experience of infant feeding and postnatal care during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Evaluation of the implementation of the BSOTS triage system in maternity
  • Improving sustainability in maternity through waste segregation

Meet our Researchers

Our team members

The centre is led by Professor Bodil Rasmussen with the support of research fellows, nurse researchers, research assistants and higher degree by research students (honours, master's and PhD).

Position Name
Chair in Nursing Prof. Bodil Rasmussen
Chair in MidwiferyProf. Linda Sweet
Senior Research FellowDr Sara Holton
Senior Research Fellow Dr Karen Wynter
Research FellowDr Vidanka Vasilevski

Contact us

Deakin QPS

Western Health

Western Health Partnership
Western Centre for Health Research and Education
Sunshine Hospital
176 Furlong Road
St Albans, Vic 3021

Email: Bodil Rasmussen (Nursing)
Email: Linda Sweet (Midwifery)

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