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Research talent wins national Innovation in Nursing award
Date:5/16/2008

Professor Claire Rickard, from Griffiths School of Nursing and Midwifery, has won the Innovation in Nursing category of the HESTA Australian Nursing Awards.

Professor Rickard won top honours for her research to cut patient blood loss during testing procedures, reducing the risk of anaemia and the need for blood transfusions among already ill patients. The award was announced last night at a gala dinner at Melbournes Crown Entertainment complex.

Nurses routinely take blood samples for pathology tests from hospital patients intravenous drips to reduce needle punctures. The first blood drawn must be discarded because it may be contaminated or provide a false reading.

In my nursing practice in many different hospitals and wards I saw there was a huge variety of beliefs and practices about this and I suspected patients were losing a lot of blood unnecessarily, she said.

Professor Rickard, acting director of the Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation, said patients who need multiple blood tests, like intensive care patients, can lose so much blood they become anaemic.

Previous attempts had been made to calculate the optimum amount of discarded blood, but most were only applicable to specific equipment used by individual hospitals. Claire developed a formula that works across all equipment, and all medical institutions.

She will use the $10,000 prize money to extend her research. She hopes to have her work published in a nursing journal, which could lead to international application of her work.

Especially at a time of illness, the blood is vital and we should not waste a drop, she said.

This new process has led to changes in our practice: much lower blood volumes are being discarded and patients get the best of both worlds. They still get the accurate blood results which are necessary for their treatment, but they also avoid unnecessary anaemia and blood transfus
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Contact: Claire Rickard
61-413-398-482
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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