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Professor Karen-Leigh Edward

Professor and Course Director, Nursing
PhD, RMIT University, Australia; MHSc, RMIT University, Australia; BN (post registration), Monash University, Australia; RN, Melbourne Health, Australia


Prof Karen-leigh Edward is an outstanding scholar and administrator and an international expert in mental health, resilience, gender-specific healthcare and practice-based research. She has degrees in nursing and psychology, with a PhD in Health Science. Prof Edward has focused her research on physical and mental comorbidity, implementing and testing resilience and self-righting models that inform care for better clinical outcomes for people with chronic conditions including CVD, diabetes, wounds, epilepsy and mental illness. She has been the Head of Dept Nursing at Latrobe University including acting deputy Head of School at the same time, research Professor in Nursing in a joint appointment between ACU and St Vincent’s Private Hospital, the Professor of Nursing Research in Practice-Based Research at Swinburne University. She has also been the CEO of HerHeart a not for profit for the prevention of heart disease in women. Currently she is a Professor and Head of Nursing at Swinburne University of Technology (Australia) and an Adjunct Professor position at the University of Huddersfield (United Kingdom) where she continues to conduct research in health and nursing. 

Prof Edward has attracted over $3 million in research funding from government, industry and academic sources and has authored over 170 publications, including scientific journal articles, 4 books and 16 book chapters and 16 media releases. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Australian Publishers Association Publishing Award (2011), Emerging Leader Catholic Health Australia (2012), Nursing Review Magazine Top 5 Inspiring Nurses (2013), Multigate Medical Education Award (2014), ACORN Best Research Team in Perioperative Nursing (2016), finalist St Vincent’s Health Australia Innovation and Excellence Award-Best People in Health and Aging (2018) and the World Scientists Forum International Award- Eminent Scientist and Millennium Golden International Award of IRPC (2021).

Research interests

Health Science; Nursing; Acute Care; Mental Health; Systematic Reviews

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Emotional labor and psychological resilience in undergraduate health care students: This project is related to the issues students may experience with regard to the caring role.

Exercise and mental health: Exercise is important for general wellbeing. However, it can also improve mental health outcomes. This project is directed to better understand the intersection between exercise and mental health.

Managing Delirium in Acute Care Older Australians: Delirium is extremely common in acute care hospitals ranging from 11–42 % in cases.  This is exacerbated in some cases with a further 8% who develop a delirium during their hospital stay. This translational research will evaluate an intervention designed to manage delirium in this population.

Pressure injury management in acute care: Pressure injuries (PI)  are a significant issue for acute care patients, especially those in the ICU. This translational project seeks to manage PI in acute care.


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Chronic pain and psychological resilience - systematic review: This project relates to chronic pain and resilience.

Epilepsy and social stigma - Systematic review and meta analysis: This systematic review is registered with Prospero and is good to go

Teaching areas



  • 2018, National, Finalist - Best people in Health and Aging, St Vincent's Health Australia
  • 2017, National, Best Poster in Neurosciences Nursing, Australian neurosciences Nursing Association
  • 2016, National, Team Research in Perioperative Settings, Australian College of Operating Room Nurses
  • 2013, National, Australia’s Five Most Inspirational Nurses, Nursing Review
  • 2012, National, Emerging Leader, Catholic Health Australia
  • 2011, National, best wholly Australian tertiary textbook in nursing education, Australian Publishers Association


Also published as: Edward, Karen-Leigh; Edward, K-L.; Edward, K. L.; Edward, K.-L.; Edward, Karen leigh; Edward, Karen-leigh
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2019: A comprehensive integrative review of the evidence for:(i) Women and Diabetes(ii) Women and Lipid management(Her heart: The State of play of woman and heart disease in Australia) *; Sanofi Aventis
  • 2019: The Move More Model (TMMM)- better health outcomes for Australian mental health consumers *; Access Health and Community
  • 2019: The PROTECT Trial: PeRiOperaTive Enhancement of Cognitive Trajectory *; Boosting Dementia Research Grants Scheme (PR5)
  • 2018: Landscape review of maternity services education in Victoria *; VMIA State-Wide Maternity Services Program
  • 2017: Development of the Australian Mission in Action in Healthcare Staff Scale. *; ST VINCENT'S HEALTH AUSTRALIA LTD FUND SCHEME
  • 2017: Enhancing nurses' communication to family members and its impact on family satisfaction in Intensive Care Units: An Australian study *; Nurses Board of Victoria Legacy Limited Fund Scheme

* Chief Investigator

Recent media

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