Griffith University academic Professor Brigid Gillespie has been recognised for her contribution to nursing research as one of only 19 nurse researchers worldwide inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in 2020.

“This award recognises the contribution and impact of my research to improving patient care in the operating room, surgical care and pressure injuries,” Professor Gillespie said.

“It also recognises nursing research more broadly, and the important contributions that nurse researchers make to the evidence base.”

PVC (Health) Professor Sheena Reilly.

Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Sheena Reilly AM said Griffith Health was ecstatic at the news of Professor Gillespie’s induction.

“We are extremely proud,” Professor Reilly said.

“Professor Gillespie is part of an outstanding team of nurses in our School of Nursing and Midwifery, which only a few weeks ago was globally ranked No. 2, making it the best Australian university in this discipline.”

Professor Gillespie, who was appointed as the inaugural conjoint Professor of Patient Safety in Nursing at the Gold Coast University Hospital and Griffith School of Nursing and Midwifery in 2016, was destined for a career in healthcare.

“I always wanted to become a nurse, since I was a young girl.”

“I was an operating room nurse for many years, however, in this setting there are many practices that health professionals enact that are steeped in tradition, history or habit, without good evidence to support their continued use,” she said.

These traditions and habits are what drove the nurse to academia, with the lack of an evidence-based culture leading her to become interested in doing research of her own.

“Becoming a nurse researcher took many years, but once I started, I knew I wanted to continue to make a difference in a different way than I did as a clinician,” Professor Gillespie said.

“I enjoy clinical research because it challenges me to think outside the box, and I get to work with like-minded people who are also focused on improving patient care.”

Professor Gillespie said she always worked in specialty areas as a registered nurse, such as midwifery, intensive care and operating room.

“The operating room was where I felt most at home, spending 16 years of clinical practice there,” she said.

“I was drawn to working in surgery — human anatomy is so interesting and is not always like it is portrayed in textbooks.”