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The Safety and Quality in Health research group is based at University of South Australia’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.  We contribute to the University’s Population Health, Practice and Policy theme specifically addressing the key priority of improving health systems and services.

Keeping safety and quality in health as a priority is important to everyone.  Group members are committed to enabling better outcomes for patients/consumers/residents ensuring they receive safer and better care each day, across all parts of our health, community and aged care sectors.  The importance of the group’s practice, outcomes and evaluation projects are in their relevance to people receiving services, clinicians, educators and decision makers. 

We represent diverse perspectives and have demonstrated capacity and success in all research methodologies.  Within our theme of safety and quality, some examples of the group’s research areas include:

  • Acute and critical care
  • Professional practice and workforce development
  • Younger onset dementia
  • Prevention and management of chronic conditions
  • Quality use of medicines
  • Residential and community aged care services

Research Projects

Providing innovative education for nurses: An evaluation of the implementation of a palliative care clinical assessment process

Investigator: Lyn Rabbetts
Dr Roger Wurm Scholarship, ($22,000) Nurses Memorial Foundation of South Australia Inc.
To scientifically study the implementation and evaluation of a Palliative Care Clinical Assessment tool to be used by generalist nurses who are caring for patients receiving palliative care in a regional hospital in South Australia.

Expected outcomes

To increase the knowledge base of rural nurses working in country hospitals  in the nursing approach required in providing high quality, appropriate and effective holistic palliative care to all patients requiring palliative care as a result of using the Palliative Care Clinical Assessment tool on a daily basis. 

To improve verbal and written communication between nurses involved in the provision of palliative care in the regional hospital as a consequence of familiarisation with the five validated assessment scales within the clinical assessment tool.

To improve communication between the generalist nurses and the specialist palliative care teams providing consultative support to the participating regional hospital, enhancing quality patient centred care as the same validated assessment scales are used by both groups.

Research Project Design

A three-phase mixed method quantitative and qualitative design is being used.

Phase One: The participating nurses were invited to attend education sessions, complete a consent form and a short pre education questionnaire.

Phase Two: Participating generalist nurses involved completed the Palliative Care Clinical Assessment form on a daily basis for any patients receiving inpatient palliative care.

A midterm audit of the de identified clinical assessment form was completed by the researcher after 18 weeks of data collection and follow up education was offered to participating nurses.

Phase Three: At the conclusion of data collection the participating nurses were invited to attend a focus group to contribute to a short discussion about the study and to complete a brief post study questionnaire. A final audit of the de identified clinical assessment forms completed during the second 18 week period of data collection was conducted by the researcher.

This project is currently in the final report writing phase. For more information please contact Lyn Rabbetts

Willis, E., Xiao, L., Henderson, J., Toffoli, L., Blackman, I., Verrall, C., & Abery, E. 2013 After hours nurse staffing, work intensity and rationed care in rural aged care settings. Flinders University Faculty of Health Sciences Seeding Grant Awarded $10,000. 

Blackman, I., Henderson, J., Willis, E. Hamilton, P.,  Toffoli, L., Verrall, C. & Abery, E. 2013 Measuring quality of nursing care: Redevelopment of the MISSCARE survey, Flinders University Faculty of Health Sciences Seeding Grant, Awarded $10,000.

Review and Update Guidelines for A Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (2006)

Investigators: Dr Kay Price, Professor Karen Grimmer
Funding: $341,754, Department of Health and Ageing
A review and update of the Guideline for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (2006) that meets the Procedures and requirements for meeting the 2011 NHMRC standard for clinical practice guidelines (2011).

Evaluation of the ‘Living Well, Dying Well’ project (2013)

Investigators: Dr Kay Price, Dr David Evans, Dr Sandra Ullrich
Funding: $100,000, Southern Cross Care
Using Outcome Mapping as a developmental evaluation methodology the project aims to ensure the success of the objectives of the ‘Living Well, Dying Well’ project being undertaken at Southern Cross Care funded through Health Workforce Australia.

Qualitative evaluation of the Coordinated Care for Diabetes Pilot (2013)

Investigators: Dr Kay Price
Funding: $125,000, McKinsey Pacific Rim, Inc
To inform how best to care for people with diabetes, and to identify the extent of change that is required to achieve this, the Diabetes Care Project (DCP) will evaluate the impact of two different, evidence-based models of care (compared to usual care) on clinical quality, patient and provider experience, and cost.

Ensuring success: Reforms to Compulsory Third Party Insurance for South Australian motorists (2013)

Investigators: Dr Kay Price, Dr David Evans
Funding: $80,000, Motor Accident Commission
Using Outcome Mapping as a developmental evaluation methodology the project aims to ensure the success of the objectives of the Reforms to Compulsory Third Party Insurance for South Australian motorists being undertaken by the Tort Reforms team, Motor Accident Commission.

Recent Publications

Tsourtos,G., Ward, P.R., Miller, E.R., Hill, K., Barton, C., Wilson, C.J., Woodman, R, 2018 ‘Does resilience moderate the relationship between stress and smoking status? An Australian quantitative study’. Substance Use and Misuse.

Coveney, J., Herbert, D., Hill, K., Mow, K., Graves, N., Barnett, A, 2017, ‘Are you siding with a personality or the grant proposal – observations on how the peer review panels function’.  Research Integrity and Peer Review, Vol 2, no. 19, DOI 10.1186/s41073-017-0043-x.

Hill K, Ward P, Grace BS, Gleadle J, 2017 ‘Social disparities in the prevalence of diabetes in Australia and in the development of end stage renal disease due to diabetes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and Maori and Pacific Islanders in New Zealand’, BMC Public Health. Vol 11 no. 17(1):802. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4807-5.

Al-Naji, A, Gibson, K & Chahl, J 2017, 'Remote sensing of physiological signs using a machine vision system', Journal of medical engineering and technology, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 396-405.

Al-Naji, A, Gibson, K, Lee, S-H & Chahl, J 2017, 'Real time apnoea monitoring of children using the Microsoft Kinect sensor: a pilot study', Sensors, vol. 17, no. 2, article number 286, pp. 1-15.

Al-Naji, A, Gibson, K, Lee, SH & Chahl, J 2017, 'Monitoring of cardiorespiratory signal: principles of remote measurements and review of methods', IEEE Access, vol. 5, pp. 15776-15790.

Our Researchers

Adjunct Members

  • Christopher Clarke

Executive Officer

Research Students


  • Mrs Susanne BeckerThe issues that impact on the recruitment and retention of locum nurses in rural and remote Australia
  • Miss Kate DeuterSuicide and older people
  • Mrs Wan Nishfa DewiPatient centred care in an Indonesian medical ward
  • Mrs Maya EbrahimiAn investigation of overseas qualified registered nurses’ transition into the Australian health care system
  • Mrs Fenella GillThe development of Australian critical care nursing course graduate minimum standards of practice and assessment criteria
  • Mrs Anna GregoryHealth system factors affecting quality of health care for community dwelling older people with complex needs: integrated findings
  • Mrs Sherie JohnsFemale Urogenital Pain: Mechanisms, Mapping and Management
  • Dr Conrad NewmanMen who express suicidal ideation and subsequently die by suicide: What are the nature, scope and consequence of public sector mental health system responses?
  • Ms Rebecca SharpAdverse Events and Costs associate with two power-injectable Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters at an adult hospital - A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Ms Fathimath ShifazaUsing Evidence-Based Practice champions to implement evidence-based practice in the Maldives
  • Mrs Josephine WollElder abuse in residential aged care: perceptions, practice and policy

Masters / Minor Thesis

  • Mrs Robyn WelshIdentifying suitable respite for carers of children with complex health needs
  • Mrs Jayne HallamCompetency Transition in Registered Nurses in a Community Setting
  • Ms Haiying WangTraining programs for overseas nurses in Australia
  • Miss Hui Zhang Cross National Comparison of Nursing Research in the Quality use of Medicines by Registered Nurses in Australia and China