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Nurse leader Raymond Chan has always been passionate about cancer care.

But it wasn’t until he moved into research and focused on making IV complications a thing of the past, that he found his niche.

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“Clinical is great and having the patient touch is great but I guess I always had that desire to impact care at a higher level and on more people at the same time,” he said.

“So when I went into research, it made perfect sense.

“I did research in a clinical area that I have strong clinical experience in and the more I immersed myself in cancer care, the more I loved cancer care.”


The Griffith University Adjunct Associate Professor is the Cancer Nurses Society of Australia president elect, the deputy director of research of cancer care services at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and a health professional research fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Adj Assoc. Professor Chan is also a member of the Alliance for Vascular Access Teaching and Research (AVATAR) group, an independent research group based at Brisbane’s Griffith University, which is conducting pioneering research into improving the way 15 million IVs are used in Australian hospitals each year.

“There has been a lack of very high level research evidence to guide us in terms of our practices in managing vascular access devices in our patients, and the work that AVATAR is doing is just tremendous because we are actually the world leaders in this regard.”

With studies showing a third of IVs fail while in use due to dislodgement, occlusion or infiltration, a team of researchers are investigating the use of medical grade superglues to ‘glue in’ and secure IV drips.

Adj Assoc. Professor Chan said the innovative method is being trialled at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

“Infection is obviously an issue for us, particularly cancer patients,” he said.

“While we are trying to cure the cancer we are also killing some of the immunity cells that they have.

“That’s why the vascular access research that we have at Griffith University is particularly relevant to patients in improving their outcomes.

“We are really caring for patients who are facing a life crisis as they get diagnosed with cancer,” he added.

“Just being there with them, telling them that we’re trying our best to improve their outcomes through research - it’s really, really rewarding to me.”

Adj Assoc. Professor Chan advises nurses wanting to become leaders to pursue their dreams in their area of interest.

“I think a research higher degree is perfect in that it really trains you to think outside the box to be innovative, to be rigorous in how we can evaluate the outcomes of our work, so I would definitely recommend a research higher degree,” he said.

Adj Assoc. Professor Chan said aspirational nurses should also seek mentors and leadership training.

“Sometimes we tend to delete those leadership training emails very quickly but I think that is something that nurses really lack,” he said.

“We are not taught about leadership in our nursing degree so I really think if we want to become a nurse leader we really need to grow in our leadership skills and we need to know that we can lead changes in the health system.”


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords