Master of Nursing Science
- CRICOS Code: 061211F
Find out more about the experiences of current and former students, and how courses offered by the Melbourne School of Health Sciences have benefitted them.
Lisa Clark and Jessica McKendry are Master of Nursing Science graduates (class of 2015) at the University of Melbourne. Here in this video, Lisa and Jessica share about student life and experience as a Nursing student. Lisa completed her undergraduate degree in the Bachelor of Biomedicine whereas Jessica studied a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Journalism. Watch this video to hear why they have chosen Nursing as a postgraduate pathway!
"I chose to study the Master of Nursing Science at Unimelb because it has contacts with some of the top hospitals in Melbourne allowing for fantastic educational opportunities. The course aligns the practical elements of nursing with the science behind medical disorders. This allows us to be knowledgeable on placement and know what underlying causes can lead to the clinical manifestations that patients present with. After this course, I look forward to entering the workforce as a graduate nurse at one of Melbourne’s hospitals."
Finding a voice
"My story in nursing really began with my parents starting up their own business in aged care," explains Master of Nursing Science student Nishan Saparamadu.
"Mum, who is a nurse, had always wanted to have her own aged care business but it was the last thing from my mind. At the time, I found it really difficult to engage and interact with older people and actually protested at my mother's requests to come to work with her. I was studying my undergraduate degree at the time and I had my own part-time job in hospitality so ‘I have no time' was a good excuse."
Fast forward the clock a few years and it's a different story for Nishan.
"After I completed my undergraduate Science degree at the University of Melbourne, I was left unsure of what I wanted to do with my career. I did not want to work in aged care, pursue psychology or work in research so I packed up and left on an 18 month trip around the world, which was the best thing I ever did," says Nishan.
"I came back a different person and began to spend more time at the nursing home, where I met a special resident I called Ruby. It was through Ruby that I learnt how to interact with the elderly and once that path was forged, I felt more comfortable about spending time at the nursing home."
Nishan soon found his interests drifting towards clinical care and wanted to play a part when it came to making clinical decisions for the residents.
"I found it difficult to refrain from interfering," says Nishan. "I knew my limitation of not having any clinical experience or knowledge and I had to rely heavily on the choices and decisions of the Registered Division 1 Nurses. However, I was continually driven to challenge their thinking. I realised that for me to contribute positively and make a difference, I should undertake nursing, and that way I could support my residents completely."
Nishan says the course has provided him with a number of opportunities to pursue a nursing career in a nursing home or in other environments.
"After 2-3 weeks of starting the course, we were out on placement, trying this novel approach of working and learning concurrently. The Master of Nursing Science course has really given me the edge to becoming a more critical thinker and increased confidence to question and critique my practice," says Nishan.
"The thing that helped me the most was seeing how motivated some of the lecturers were. Their enthusiasm to teach and their determination to maintain a high standard of education, as challenging as it was at times, really helped with the learning process. I also appreciated how some of them would take the time to discuss matters further, if we ever needed it."
Nishan is currently undertaking his graduate year in mental health.
Taking on the challenge
Katherine Kubicki was inspired to undertake the Master of Nursing Science at the University of Melbourne because she felt ready for a new challenge.
"After completing my science degree with honours and entering into a PhD, I still hadn't found what I really wanted to do with my career," says the recent graduate, who is based at the Department of Oncology, Northern Health.
"At that point, I decided a change was in order. My husband suggested nursing as he thought it would really suit my personality and as it has turned out, he was right."
The rest, as they say, is history.
"I had considered nursing out of high school, but at the time science had been my passion," says Katherine. "However, some time later, it felt right to pursue a career in nursing so I checked the University of Melbourne website, saw they were starting a new course, applied, got in and quit my job all in the one day. It seemed to happen at once but I haven't looked back."
Katherine says the Master of Nursing Science has provided her with an array of opportunities.
"Unlike other courses, you get exposed to various aspects of the profession from the start," says Katherine.
"We have had placements in mental health and a specialty placement which can be in any area of nursing you have an interest in such as rural health, emergency and ICU. Another great aspect of the course is the Koori Health subject which focused on improving the health of Indigenous Australians."
Katherine says she has found the learning experience challenging, but at the same time rewarding.
"The learning curve for me was quite steep as I had only two years to be converted from a scientist into a nurse," says Katherine.
"At the same time, it was also very enjoyable and the Melbourne School of Health Sciences staff has always been willing to provide you with extra assistance or support when I needed it. I am fortunate that in this course a lot of our lectures are performed by specialists in the nursing field, which definitely improved the learning experience," says Katherine.
Katherine says that after completing the course she feels she has finally found a career that she will enjoy.
"Though I enjoyed my time as a scientist I do not believe it was my calling in life," says Katherine. "Through my clinical placements at Northern Health I have realised I have quite a passion for Oncology and Paediatrics and the great thing about nursing as a career is that it is so diverse. There will always be many opportunities to try new things, so I won't get bored."
Katherine's positive experience during the course at Northern Health may see her undertake post graduate qualifications in one or both of these fields in the future.
"The ward staff and my clinical educator were both so supportive that I really blossomed as a nurse and increased my self-confidence," says Katherine. "I enjoyed Oncology and Paediatric nursing so much as both involve not only caring for the patient but also the patients families. It's really quite beautiful. I am now considering specialising in one or both of these fields of nursing."
How research can improve patient care and advance your career
University of Melbourne PhD graduate Fiona Newall is passionate about helping others - be they patients or students.
"Access to care that can improve health outcomes is one of the biggest assets we have in Australia," says Fiona, who is Anticoagulation Nurse Manager at the Department of Clinical Haematology, Royal Children's Hospital. "To help improve a patient's quality of life starts with investment in research and through recognising that you can help people."
Fiona gained her Masters of Nursing (Research) from the University of Melbourne in 2005 before completing her PhD. She focused on whether children receiving the anti-clotting drug Heparin are getting the optimal dose and monitoring.
"My PhD aimed to improve understanding of how heparin works and how it is managed in children," explains Fiona, who is the first nurse to complete a laboratory-based PhD project at the University of Melbourne.
"Children on Heparin have higher rates of bleeding than adults and higher rates of recurrent clots. However, despite the widespread use of the drug, there is not much that is known about its effect on children. My research helped give us information that can change clinical practice and provide the safest, most effective treatments for children."
Whilst undertaking work as a research nurse with the current Head of Department and Stevenson Chair of Paediatrics, Professor Paul Monagle, Fiona decided to pursue a career in paediatric thrombosis/anticoagulation.
"Thrombosis is a specialised area of paediatrics that requires a high level of critical enquiry when undertaking research," explains Fiona. "There will always be a need for continued learning in this area to help improve the lives of children who have had or are at risk of having a blood clot."
As well as her position at RCH, Fiona is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing Research at the University of Melbourne. She says that despite her busy schedule she finds teaching incredibly rewarding.
"I can't see myself doing anything else as I am constantly learning with the students," says Fiona.
"For me, the main highlight in my current roles has been working with individuals who are as passionate about improving patient care through research as I am."
"In my role as a lecturer it is also about helping students understand not only the importance of research in practice but so many others aspects of the profession including rapport building as well as skills-based practice. The Master of Nursing Science is an excellent means of understanding the importance of research in the field of nursing and helps develop this process of quality improvement in healthcare."
Fiona is also Nursing Representative on the RCH Children's Bioethics Centre, which provides a voluntary consultative service to clinicians about the management of ethically challenging clinical situations.
"This is a multi-disciplinarily service that helps address educational interventions on a range of issues relating to the clinical management of children," says Fiona.
"This includes withholding of life-sustaining treatment, child refusal of treatment and the impact of societal, cultural, religious beliefs upon access to health care. The service is committed to developing a strong research program within this field of practice, and I am grateful to be part of that."
Fiona firmly believes the Masters of Nursing Science program at the University of Melbourne is setting the benchmark for equivalent courses across Australia.
"Our aim in producing nurses who will have a Masters qualification when entering the profession of nursing is to ensure that they are up to the task. It is not enough to have masters graduates who are clinically competent - they must be prepared to function at an advanced level when it comes to questioning whether their practice is 'best practice,'" says Fiona.
"The strong focus upon research training within our program will ensure our graduates are properly equipped to be leaders of nursing in the future. In this area, the University of Melbourne is the leader."