‘As [former] Director of the Tropical Health Research Unit (THRU), it has been my privilege to expand my research interests into areas which allow me to investigate the role of the tropical environment on health outcomes and how nurses and midwives can influence these. THRU is a key vehicle in North Queensland to support and encourage the nursing workforce to become involved in research and evidence generation. While we are a small unit, we manage to do this very well.
‘On a personal level, my main areas of research and scholarship are in paediatric and child health nursing, and history. My particular interest in history lies around nursing during the Nazi era in Europe, and I am now examining the history of nursing and midwifery in tropical regions.
‘A new and interesting endeavour for me is the development of inventions that improve the way we care for people, and an invention under development at present is a nasogastric tube which can safely determine correct placement in the stomach. Other inventions are planned and I have learned much about development, research translation, and intellectual property and patent law with this branch of research.
‘I hold the position of Honorary Professor in the School of Medicine at The University of Queensland, Australia. My medical colleagues have always been a major support for me, and I value their encouragement highly. I am trying to repay this by sitting on the board of the Medical Alumni of The University of Queensland.
‘My other service commitments include membership of the board of the Association for the Wellbeing of Children in Health Care, fellowship of the Australian College of Nursing and the Royal Society of Medicine (UK), and life membership of the Australian College of Children and Young People’s Nurses, and I take an active role in these organisations.
'The TJ Ryan Foundation, a progressive think tank, will be launched on 27 February 2014, and I am a member of their executive board. I subscribe to the idea that academics have an obligation to speak out, and that academic autonomy and freedom put us in the very privileged position to be able to do so safely. Professors have an added obligation to “profess their profession” and so I have written extensively on problems I see in nursing and in society in general. After all, as Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.’