Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professor Catherine Hungerford

Professor Catherine Hungerford

RN, NP, CMHN, BHlthSc, BA, BCounsStuds, GradDipEd, MLitt, MN (MH – NursPract), PhD, FACMHN

Catherine commenced her nursing career as a generalist at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, before moving to western NSW. Since that time, Catherine has gained wide experience working in a range of clinical, management (front-line, project, and area-wide), education (clinical and academic), research and policy-related areas of nursing, in rural, regional and metropolitan settings. Catherine's current specialty area is mental health nursing and, alongside her academic career, she maintains her clinical practice as a Nurse Practitioner.

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Catherine has contributed to teaching and learning in the tertiary education context in a number of ways:

  • convening and teaching into courses at the undergraduate, postgraduate and higher-degree-by-research levels, across a range of subject areas, using online, face-to-face, and flexible modes of delivery;
  • reviewing (including benchmarking), evaluating, revising, rejuvenating, and developing a variety of curricula, to meet the requirements of the university and also accrediting and/or regulatory authorities;
  • leading and supporting the professional development of academic and clinical colleagues, locally, nationally, and internationally; and
  • actively collaborating with academic and industry colleagues, non-government organisations, consumers, carers, and other community stakeholders, to ensure the relevance and authenticity of her teaching.

A hallmark of Catherine's contribution to higher education is her lead authorship of a highly successful textbook: Mental Health Care: An introduction for health professionals in Australia (2nd Edition). This text has met the strong demand for an introductory, interdisciplinary text in this area of health, to support undergraduate nursing, midwifery, and allied health (including para-medicine and Indigenous Health) teaching and learning. The text is now prescribed at over 10 universities across Australia.

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Catherine has made a significant contribution to research in the specialty field of mental health nursing, and also the sub-specialty of mental health Recovery. Of particular note is her evaluation of Recovery-oriented services in the ACT. This service-oriented evaluation was the first of its kind in Australia; with components of the research that were related to carers and community service workers, a first internationally. Findings of the evaluation have provided an important means of supporting clinical mental health services worldwide; with the potential to improve practice outcomes for mental health professionals and health outcomes for people with chronic and severe mental illness.

Catherine was also actively involved a large-scale, multi-disciplinary, cross-institutional evaluation of the aged care Nurse Practitioner models of care, which involved 35 sites located across Australia. Alongside this was Catherine's leadership of the Cooperative of Healthy Ageing Research and Teaching (CHART) Project, comprising 11 consortium partners located across the clinical, management, education and research sector. Under Catherine's direction, these partners worked together to build the teaching and research capacity of 5 residential aged care facilities across the ACT and southern NSW. In combination, these research projects have enabled the development of a number of models of practice for the residential, clinic-based, community and primary health sectors.

In just over 6 years, Catherine's involvement in research has generated some $1.9million in funding. In addition, during this time, Catherine has authored or co-authored over 30 refereed journal articles (accepted or in press), and 4 important national policy-related documents. She has also delivered over 30 presentations (invited and peer reviewed) at national and international conferences.

Catherine is a keen research supervisor of higher degree by research students from a number of disciplines and specialties, including nursing, mental health nursing, and counselling. Catherine's wide experience, together with her energy and capacity for mentoring others, is an asset to the academic supervisory process.

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Catherine has made a number of important contributions to the profession of nursing, in particular mental health nursing. For example, subsequent to serving 4 years as Chair of the ACT Branch of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, Catherine moved on to assume the role of Chair of the College's National Research Committee (2011 – 2013). Her achievements over this time were considerable, and culminated in her leading a national Delphi study to define the Scope of Practice of Mental Health Nurses in Australia. Catherine also convened the Inaugural Online International Research Symposium for the College, providing virtual support to mental health nurses with an interest in research, globally.

Catherine was awarded a Fellowship of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses for her contribution to the profession in late 2012. She continues to be an active member of the College, with her ongoing work including membership of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Catherine is also committed to supporting the progression of the role of the Nurse Practitioner in Australia. In addition to her research and associated presentations and publications in this area, Catherine is a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council Nurse Practitioner Accreditation Committee.

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