Dr Joanne Steel

Dr Joanne Steel

Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (Speech Pathology)

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Joanne Steel, PhD, is a certified practising speech pathologist (CPSP) and lecturer in adult neurogenic communication disability at the University of Newcastle. Jo’s research interest is the assessment and management of cognitive and social communication disorders after traumatic brain injury (TBI) particularly for people with severe injury who are in the early stages of recovery. In 2015, Jo completed her PhD investigating cognitive communication assessment and recovery during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). Her goal has been to determine the best ways to monitor communication recovery after TBI, to help speech pathologists plan services and to inform patients and families about communication recovery. The results of her PhD indicated that assessment of cognitive communication during PTA and post-acute stages is feasible and useful, particularly by examining the patient’s discourse and interactional skills. Employing methods used in this research, it is possible to determine the patient’s strengths and weaknesses in communication from a very early stage after injury. Jo’s research has informed clinical practice in this area.

Jo’s recent work has focused on improving narrative discourse (e.g. anecdotes, telling stories, giving explanations) for people with TBI. Being able to tell a story is a critical part of everyday social interaction, and impairment in this ability, which is common after TBI, has a devastating effect on the person's relationships and employment. This research has examined optimal and innovative assessment methods, and more recently has focused on types of interventions to treat narratives after TBI.

In 2017 Jo was a co-founder of BRAINSPaN, the Brain Impairment Clinician and Researcher Peer Network, which is a multidisciplinary network of clinicians and researchers in the brain impairment (BI) field in Australia (https://www.assbi.com.au/BrainSPan).  The group was set up to share knowledge and skills between peers in brain injury and encourage translation of research findings into clinical practice. BRAINSPaN now has over 700 members and has been successful for skill-building, knowledge translation and research dissemination.

Jo has previously worked on an NHMRC funded project at the University of Technology, Sydney as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and has clinical experience working with adults with acquired brain injury.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Adult neurogenic communication disability
  • Cognitive communication
  • Discourse analysis
  • Social communication
  • Traumatic brain injury

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
170299 Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified 60
200499 Linguistics not elsewhere classified 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Awards

Distinction

Year Award
2010 University Medal
University of Newcastle

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
SPTH3001 Adult Speech and Language
School of Humanities and Social Science - Faculty of Education and Arts - The University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator, Lecturer, Tutor 27/01/2019 - 27/06/2019
SPTH4210 Research Review
The University of Newcastle
Course coordinator 29/07/2019 - 8/11/2019
Edit

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Steel J, Togher L, 'Social communication assessment after traumatic brain injury: a narrative review of innovations in pragmatic and discourse assessment methods', BRAIN INJURY, 33 48-61 (2019)
DOI 10.1080/02699052.2018.1531304
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1
2019 Steel J, Georgiou A, Balandin S, Hill S, Worrall L, Hemsley B, 'A content analysis of documentation on communication disability in hospital progress notes: diagnosis, function, and patient safety', CLINICAL REHABILITATION, 33 943-956 (2019)
DOI 10.1177/0269215518819717
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Bronwyn Hemsley
2019 Hemsley B, Steel J, Sheppard JJ, Malandraki GA, Bryant L, Balandin S, 'Dying for a Meal: An Integrative Review of Characteristics of Choking Incidents and Recommendations to Prevent Fatal and Nonfatal Choking Across Populations.', Am J Speech Lang Pathol, 28 1283-1297 (2019)
DOI 10.1044/2018_AJSLP-18-0150
Co-authors Bronwyn Hemsley
2018 Hemsley B, Steel J, Worrall L, Hill S, Bryant L, Johnston L, et al., 'A systematic review of falls in hospital for patients with communication disability: Highlighting an invisible population', Journal of Safety Research, 68 89-105 (2018)
DOI 10.1016/j.jsr.2018.11.004
Co-authors Bronwyn Hemsley
2017 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Social communication during post-traumatic amnesia and the post-acute period after traumatic brain injury', Brain Injury, 31 1320-1330 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/02699052.2017.1332385
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2017 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Language and cognitive communication disorder during post-traumatic amnesia: Profiles of recovery after TBI from three cases', Brain Injury, 31 1889-1902 (2017) [C1]

© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Background: There has been limited empirical speech¿language pathology (SLP) study of language and cognitive communication during post-tr... [more]

© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Background: There has been limited empirical speech¿language pathology (SLP) study of language and cognitive communication during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) and the early stages after TBI. The purpose of the current research was to explore the potential means and utility of assessing cognitive communication during PTA and the post-acute recovery period. Method: This research used a longitudinal mixed methods design to describe language and cognitive communication assessment and recovery profiles of three patients with TBI. Cognitive communication was assessed with repeated standardised and non-standardised methods during PTA (rated with Westmead PTA Scale) and at follow-up 3¿months after PTA emergence. Results: All participants demonstrated a profile of language and cognitive communication strengths and weaknesses during PTA and the post-acute period, also evident at follow-up. Improvement occurred gradually throughout PTA, although with individual fluctuation across test occasions. There was no marked change in communication function immediately before and after PTA emergence, indicating that cognitive communication ability and those functions measured on the Westmead PTA Scale (memory and orientation) did not recover at the same rate. Conclusion: It was feasible to assess language and cognitive communication throughout PTA and the post-acute period, and early assessment results were relevant to the patient¿s ongoing communicative function. It is suggested that early and repeated SLP assessment may contribute to the prediction of persisting cognitive communication issues.

DOI 10.1080/02699052.2017.1373200
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2016 Hemsley B, Georgiou A, Hill S, Rollo M, Steel J, Balandin S, 'An Integrative Review of Patient Safety in Studies on the Care and Safety of Patients with Communication Disabilities in Hospital. Patient Education and Counseling.', Patient Education and Counseling, 99 501-511 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.pec.2015.10.022
Citations Scopus - 8Web of Science - 7
Co-authors Bronwyn Hemsley, Megan Rollo
2016 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Speech-language pathologists' perspectives on cognitive communication assessment during post-traumatic amnesia', BRAIN INJURY, 30 1131-1142 (2016)
DOI 10.1080/02699052.2016.1174785
Citations Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2016 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Speech-language pathologists perspectives on cognitive communication assessment during post-traumatic amnesia', Brain Injury, 30 1131-1142 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/02699052.2016.1174785
Citations Scopus - 3
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2015 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Language and cognitive communication during post-traumatic amnesia: A critical synthesis', NeuroRehabilitation, 37 221-234 (2015) [C1]

© 2015 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. BACKGROUND: There is minimal speech pathology literature on communication presentation during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA)... [more]

© 2015 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. BACKGROUND: There is minimal speech pathology literature on communication presentation during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) and the early recovery period after traumatic brain injury. While a body of research reports on other cognitive and behavioural functions during PTA, language and/or cognitive communication are not routinely the primary focus of current research literature. OBJECTIVE: This critical synthesis provides an overview of research to date on communication during PTA to inform speech pathology assessment practice and to assist with information provision to the multidisciplinary team and family members. METHODS: A search was conducted of studies reporting on language, cognition, and cognitive communication during the acute, inpatient and early recovery period after TBI. These were examined for relevance to speech pathology practice during PTA and acute confusional state. RESULTS: Historic and recent literature has described types of language and communication impairment during PTA and early recovery after TBI. Recently, aspects of communication impairment during PTA have been found relevant for outcome prediction. Few studies were found originating from speech pathology on communication during PTA. CONCLUSIONS: Communication disruption forms a key feature of PTA. Existing literature indicates that speech pathology monitoring of communication during PTA may be of benefit as part of multidisciplinary team management during early recovery.

DOI 10.3233/NRE-151255
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 8
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2013 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Speech pathologists' current practice with cognitive-communication assessment during post-traumatic amnesia: A survey', BRAIN INJURY, 27 819-830 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.3109/02699052.2013.775492
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 13
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
Show 8 more journal articles

Conference (13 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Steel J, Togher L, 'Social communication assessment for clinical practice: A review of innovative standardised tools and discourse assessment methods', Social communication assessment for clinical practice: A review of innovative standardised tools and discourse assessment methods, Wellington, NZ (2019)
2018 Hemsley B, Sheppard JJ, Steel J, Bryant L, Balandin S, 'Dying for a Meal: Fatal & Non-Fatal Choking Incidents Across Populations.', Boston, MA, USA (2018)
2017 Steel J, Togher L, 'Translating innovations in discourse assessment: A practical guide for assessment of cognitive and social communication in adults with ABI', Melbourne, Australia (2017)
2017 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Social communication during post-traumatic amnesia and the post-acute period after traumatic brain injury.', Orange, CA, USA (2017)
Co-authors Alison Ferguson, Liz Spencer
2017 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Monitoring cognitive communication during post-truamatic amnesia and the post-acute period after TBI', Chapman University, Orange, CA, USA (2017)
Co-authors Alison Ferguson, Liz Spencer
2016 Hemsley B, Steel J, Georgiou A, Hill S, Balandin S, 'Choking risk and repeated hospitalisation: Critical case results', JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY RESEARCH (2016)
Co-authors Bronwyn Hemsley
2015 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Speech pathology assessment of cognitive communication during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) and early recovery', Sydney, Australia (2015)
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2015 Hemsley BA, Georgiou A, Balandin S, Hill S, Rollo M, Steel J, 'Improving the care and safety of adults with severe communication disability in hospital: Applying the generic model of patient safety', 4th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation jointly with CIPHER, Sydney, NSW (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Megan Rollo, Bronwyn Hemsley
2015 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Cognitive communication assessment during post-traumatic amnesia', Monterey, CA (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Alison Ferguson, Liz Spencer
2013 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Cognitive-communication recovery during post-traumatic amnesia: A case study', Cognitive-communication recovery during post-traumatic amnesia (PTA): A case study, Hobart, Australia (2013)
DOI 10.1017/BrImp.2013.6
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2013 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Cognitive-communication assessment during post-traumatic amnesia: An in-depth descriptive case study', Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre (2013)
Co-authors Alison Ferguson, Liz Spencer
2011 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'Cognitive-linguistic assessment following traumatic brain injury: A critical review of the literature', Darwin, Australia (2011)
Co-authors Liz Spencer, Alison Ferguson
2010 Steel J, Ferguson A, Spencer E, Togher L, 'High-level language assessment following traumatic brain injury: Methods in clinical practice', Gold Coast, Australia (2010)
Co-authors Alison Ferguson, Liz Spencer
Show 10 more conferences

Thesis / Dissertation (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Steel J, Speech pathology assessment of cognitive communication during early recovery following traumatic brain injury, University of Newcastle (2015)
Edit

Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 1
Total funding $1,500

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20191 grants / $1,500

ASSBI/NZRA Inaugural Trans-Tasman Conference 2019, New Zealand, 2 - 4 May 2019$1,500

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Scheme FEDUA Conference Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N
Edit

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current1

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2018 PhD Study of Discourse for Linguistic Analysis of a Healthy Ageing Population using Computerized Methods PhD (Speech Pathology), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
Edit

Dr Joanne Steel

Positions

Lecturer
Lecturer, Speech Pathology
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Casual Academic
Lecturer, Speech Pathology
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Speech Pathology

Contact Details

Email joanne.steel@newcastle.edu.au
Phone +61 2 405 53011
Links Research Networks
Twitter
Research Networks

Office

Room SR145
Building Social Sciences Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
Edit