RN, PhD UNSW Ms Nurs BN UOW GradDipCritCare Sydney Professor and Principal Research Fellow, Sydney Nursing School Honorary Professorial Fellow, George Institute for Global Health Clinical Nurse Consultant-Emergency, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
Professor Kate Curtis is an internationally renowned trauma nurse and researcher with a special interest in trauma models of care, emergency and trauma nursing and the financial aspects of trauma systems. She is a practicing emergency and trauma nurse, Profesorial fellow at the George Institute for Global Health, NHMRC Translation of Research into Practice Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Southampton, UK. “I am interested in conducting research that is meaningful and will make a difference to emergency/trauma patients and to those caring for them, in Australia and around the world” says Professor Curtis. “I also am passionate about mentoring clinicians to conduct research and translate their research into practice. Being at the coalface is crucial. It facilitates the generation of ideas, fosters good research conduct and enables speedy translation of research evidence into clinical practice. It also helps me to remain accessible to clinicians who are interested in research.”
Professor Curtis is the founder of the Australian Trauma Nurse List and Board Member of the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia. She has received numerous awards recognising her research, innovation and clinical work with the critically injured. In 2010, Sydney Magazine voted her one of Sydney’s Top 100 most influential people.
She also is an NHMRC TRIP (Translation of Research Into Practice) Fellow (2013), one of just 11 granted around the country, and a NHMRC Partnership Grant (2014) for her work in the Paediatric Critical Injury Research Program (of only 8 awarded in Australia). She currently serves as Research Co-Chair at the NSW Emergency Care Institute and at the Australasian Trauma Society, and committee member of the Research Committee at the NSW Institute of Trauma and Injury Management.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand what would you change and where would you start in order to improve childhood injury?
A: I would like to see a coordinated and funded effort by the federal government to reduce the incidence and impact of childhood injury. This can easily be achieved by establishing an evidence-based national injury prevention action framework for $10million a year (the financial cost of just two major head injuries). It makes sense to stop the heartbreak for kids and families, and it also makes business sense.
Q: Please tell us about a story that has had an impact on you and that has strengthened your resolve in childhood injury prevention.
A: I will never forget the guttural sound of a mother being told by us that her child has just died after being hit by a car. I will never forget the helplessness we all felt as clinicians holding this mother, and praying with her over her child. No parent should have to go through what she did, but tragically, the parents of more than 150 children a year do.
We need to stop kids injury.
Q: What practical solution(s) would you like to see/do you believe would see an immediate reduction in childhood injury?
A: We know what works in preventing kids injury, and we know how to do it. We just need funding to make it happen. I’d like to see every teenager attend the P.A.R.T.Y. program, which we know reduces injury rates in our youth.
Q: Given your experience with childhood injury, what key message should parents/guardians need to be made aware of?
A: For every severely injured child, there are at least 13 children hospitalised with minor or moderate injuries. No one is immune. Kids are kids, and we can’t wrap them in cotton wool, but we can do things to ensure they don’t die, or get a catastrophic brain injury that will steal their future. Parents can do simple things like enforcing helmet wearing on bicycles, skateboards and scooters.