Research Fellow - Hepatitis Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS)
“I am a Hep Hero because I believe that everybody has the right to receive the very best quality healthcare - and that it is fundamentally wrong to discriminate against a person who requires healthcare.”
As a registered nurse, I began a career in viral hepatitis in 1998 as the Victorian Viral Hepatitis Educator at St. Vincent’s Hospital. For 10 years this job took me all over Victoria and ignited a real passion in me about hepatitis B and C. This was followed by a strong interest in research.
Each year I was invited to provide annual hepatitis updates at hospitals around Victoria, but on numerous occasions I was confronted with residual stigma and discrimination towards people with hepatitis C regardless of improvements in the audiences’ knowledge. Concerned by what I was witnessing in practice I undertook a PhD to explore the impact of health professionals’ hepatitis C knowledge and attitudes on the care they provide to people with hepatitis C.
I was fortunate to complete postdoctoral research at Duke University in North Carolina, USA in 2007. Since then I have worked on several national consultancy projects including writing the 3rd National Hepatitis C Strategy 2010-2013, researching and developing the Australasian Hepatology Association (AHA) Consensus-based Nursing Guidelines for the Care of Patients with Liver Disease (2012); the AHA Competency Standards for the Hepatology Nurse (2008); and the National Hepatitis C Needs Assessment (2008).
My interest and passion for hepatitis C has not abated, but clinically I now work at the Royal Melbourne Hospital as a Hepatitis B Clinical Nurse Consultant. I try to balance my career between the clinical and research worlds. As a researcher I explore topics that are relevant to improving clinical practice and the experiences of the affected community. "I believe each and every one of us has the ability to change perceptions about viral hepatitis. We just need to keep having the conversation – including accurate information, and telling a positive story, about real people."