Seeking a good night’s sleep? Delving into sleep research changed Nicole Grivell’s professional plans, as she dreams of changing the way sleep health is managed in our communities – making a good night’s sleep and all the benefits it brings a closer reality for many of us.
An advocate for the role of primary care nurses within the health care system, Nicole had worked for many years as a primary care nurse as part of a successful clinical career. With a young family, she wanted a career with more flexibility and took a position as a Research Assistant, working in a completely different field to her primary care role, thinking she may move toward teaching nursing eventually. That led to her completing her Honours degree, while working part-time when her children were young, and then to starting a full time PhD when her children were both at school. “I thought I was too old to study again, but I just needed to find the right fit – something that I’m interested in, takes advantage of my skills, and a workload that suits my lifestyle,” she says.
Beginning her PhD in 2020 Nicole finds her research, investigating how the sleep disorders insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea can be managed by general practice nurses, fascinating and motivating. “Doing a PhD has challenged my thinking and assumptions. It pushes me. And it has changed the way I think and how I solve problems. It’s been an amazing process. I’m getting paid to learn and there’s not too many situations where that happens.”
Studying a PhD has been a flexible way to look at an issue in-depth, creating new knowledge in a way that fits each researcher, as Nicole can testify to. Her PhD aims to make a broad difference in sleep health: “I’ve had the freedom to pursue something I think I can make a difference in, in a way that suits me. I’m hoping that by combining my clinical knowledge with research I can have an impact on a wider scale.” She credits the support and encouragement she’s received from her supervisors and her research team with helping her understand how her clinical nursing experience can be applied to inform research.
Nicole is excited about where her research could take her. “After completing my PhD I’m hoping to use an implementation science approach to translate the findings into new models of nurse-delivered sleep health care. I’m hooked! I initially got into HDR study thinking about a teaching career, but research is exciting and addictive and now I want to do both!”
Nicole’s social media
Photo provided by Flinders Foundation.