Melanie started her nursing career as one of the inaugural nursing students at UTS graduating in 1988. She has since worked in a variety of settings, both hospital and community, in Australia, the UK and the USA, encompassing most areas of paediatrics - child and family mental health, adolescent psychiatry, general paediatrics, PICU, NICU and emergency.
Melanie has also worked in emergency and mental health settings with adults, and as avolunteer with teenagers living with cancer on camps through CanTeen.
In 2008 Melanie left full-time clinical nursing to pursue a career in facilitation, education and research. She joined the Faculty as a casual academic in 2009. She has a strong interest in the use of storytelling for achieving change and transformation and enjoys working with undergraduate nursing students. Neverthless she maintains clinical work though private consultations with people experiencing chronic health issues related to Auto-Immune disorders and is currently studying to achieve Authorisation to practice as a nurse immuniser.
Melanie also works as a casual professional tutor with Indigneous nursing students through the ITAS program.
Member of the Australian College of Nursing (MACN)
Member of HERDSA
Clinical: Exploring nurses experience of working with voice hearing clients
Clinical: Issues in Vaccination and immunisation
Education: Issues in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education with a focus on academic integrity
Melanie has taught in nearly all subjects offered in the undergraduate nursing curriculum including the professional nursing subjects as well as the clinical subjects in the areas of paediatrics and mental health nursing.
White, MR, Stein-Parbury, J, Orr, F & Dawson, A 2019, 'Working with consumers who hear voices: The experience of early career nurses in mental health services in Australia.', International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 605-615.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Mental health consumers who hear voices frequently experience distress and express a desire to discuss their voice-hearing experience. Nurses do not regularly demonstrate a willingness to engage in such discussions. With the introduction of educational strategies that develop empathy and an understanding of voice-hearing experiences, it is anticipated that early career nurses will be able to translate such understanding into their professional nursing practice. To explore early career nurses' understanding of providing care to mental health consumers who hear voices, a qualitative exploratory descriptive study was conducted in which nine early career Registered Nurses were interviewed regarding their experiences of caring for people who hear voices. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data and generate themes. Participants reported difficulty in developing relationships with consumers who hear voices, due to a workplace culture that was focussed on risk and lacking professional support. Nurses need specific education to develop the skills necessary to respond to consumers who hear voices and engage in dialogue that assists consumers to relate to the voices in a meaningful way. However, for this to succeed in practice, changes need to be supported by addressing the cultural barriers, such as risk-focussed environments, that prevent nurses implementing best practice.