New leader for Auckland nursing

15 November 2016
Alexandra McCarthy
Professor Alexandra McCarthy

An expert in acute cancer nursing care, Professor Alexandra McCarthy from the Queensland University of Technology, starts early next year as the new Head of the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland.

Her appointment was announced today by the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor John Fraser.

Professor McCarthy will take over from Associate Professor Judy Kilpatrick who will retire in early 2017, after 16 years at the helm of the School of Nursing.

Associate Professor Kilpatrick was the foundation Head of School from 2000, appointed by then Dean, Professor Peter Gluckman and was tasked with establishing a nursing academic programme from scratch.

“In a little over a decade Judy has grown the school to now be ranked 32nd in the world in the most recent QS University Survey,” says Professor Fraser “Judy made an early smart decision to maintain a small, high quality undergraduate programme and focus the School’s main attention on postgraduate nurse specialist training and research.”

“An international search was conducted for a replacement and we are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Sandie McCarthy as our second Head of School of Nursing,” he says.

Professor McCarthy is a Registered Nurse specialising in cancer care and holds a PhD from Queensland University of Technology; a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Southern Queensland; and a Masters of Nursing from Flinders University of South Australia.

“As one of the few credentialed cancer nurses in Australia, she is recognized for her extensive practical experience in acute cancer care, which informs her strong profile in cancer research and education,” says Professor Fraser.

Professor McCarthy has held a joint appointment between QUT and Princess Alexandra Hospital since 2008, culminating in her appointment as Chair of Cancer Nursing from 2013 in Australia.
Earlier this year she was appointed as Co-Director for the Women’s Wellness after Cancer Programme at Menzies Health Institute, Queensland.

She previously held a three-year term as Postgraduate Course Co-ordinator at QUT, followed by six months as Acting Director of Academic Programmes which was concurrent with her joint appointment.

In these roles, she led postgraduate course design, development and accreditation (including a Nurse Practitioner program) through university and registering body processes and managed course implementation.

She was also Cancer Care Subject Area Coordinator at QUT from 2008-2014, responsible for the design and delivery of the oncology stream of the Master of Nursing.

Her research program was firmly focused on clinical research and optimising cancer patient outcomes, and she actively maintains her clinical expertise in oncology nursing through regular participation in clinical workshops and conferences.

Professor McCarthy had three main streams of research interest:

  • The first focused upon the assessment, prevention and management of the side effects of chemotherapy, particularly in women.
  • The second concentrated on collaborative interventions in geriatric oncology to maximise older cancer patients’ outcomes.
  • The third stream worked alongside the Alliance for Vascular Access Teaching and Research (AVATAR), exploring the intravenous aspects of the cancer programme.

Professor McCarthy’s research group was multi-disciplinary across medical and allied health areas, but was always nursing-led in its approach.

She was principal or co-investigator in many multidisciplinary cancer research projects and successful in nationally-competitive grants awards, including four as co-investigator.

Professor McCarthy’s most recent publications have appeared in high impact multidisciplinary journals such as Circulation, Endocrine-related Cancer, Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Nursing and Nutrition Reviews.

For media enquiries email Suzi Phillips, Medical and Health Sciences.