Dr Lynette Bowen

Dr Lynette Bowen

Lecturer

School of Nursing and Midwifery (Nursing)

Stopping the spread of superbugs

Dr Lynette Bowen is determined to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and halt the spread of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ bacteria by researching hygiene-based methods of preventing and reducing infections within hospital settings.

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Imagine a world without antibiotics, where a minor infection could quickly become untreatable and life-threatening. Over the past decades, as microorganisms become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, researchers have been working overtime to outwit superbugs and improve infection control worldwide.

Dr Lynette Bowen’s research is contributing to the solution by posing an important and life-saving question: How can we prevent infections in the first place? Using a mixed-method and collaborative approach to research, Lyn is looking at ways to control the spread of drug-resistant bacteria where they are most commonly found—in our hospitals.

“Reducing the risk of infection transmission in clinical settings is a high priority for our world.

“My research is directed towards reducing the risk of patients acquiring infection as a result of receiving healthcare.

“Being insightful about how we apply preventative practices such as asepsis—the notion of being free from infection or infectious materials—will reduce the need for antimicrobials, reduce the cost of healthcare, reduce morbidity and mortality, and improve health outcomes for our patients.”

When drugs don’t work

The term ‘superbug’ is used to describe antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. While antibiotics have been effective at saving lives since their introduction in the 1940s, modern strains of bacteria are adapting and becoming dangerously resilient.

“We are moving to a new era where microorganisms are resistant to our antimicrobial medications. This is a return to the past, when a simple wound infection could develop into a life-threatening situation, such as we only hear about in history texts.”

Overuse of antibiotics in recent years has heavily contributed to the superbug crisis. The more we use antibiotics to treat infections, the quicker bacteria can adapt and become impervious to treatments.

In response, hospitals are now prioritising alternative methods to prevent and manage infections without using antibiotics as a first-line strategy—and researchers like Lyn are leading the charge.

“We need to remove our reliance on antimicrobials and ensure we consistently practice with a focus on asepsis, where we do not transmit infection from one person to another in our clinical settings.”

Cleaning up our act

The looming threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has made infection prevention and control within hospital settings a global concern. A recent and worrying study from the University of Michigan found that around 14 per cent of hospital patients had superbug antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils early in their hospital stay, and nearly one-third of objects touched by patients within the hospital setting came back positive for known resistant bacteria.

Lyn asserts that behaviour-based strategies, such as improving basic hygiene practices, could go a long way towards preventing and controlling infections in Australian hospitals.

“We can use non-drug forms of control—which appear to be obvious but are actually under-researched—such as good housekeeping and hygiene to reduce the risks associated with harmful bacteria.”

But before we start eliminating all bacteria from clinical environments without discrimination, further research is needed into what bacteria is harmful and what could potential be considered as ‘good’ or ‘healthy’.

“We need to better understand the microorganisms in our natural surroundings, recognising what is beneficial and what is harmful.”

Prioritising health and hygiene

Proactive hygiene is especially critical during and after surgery, when patients are highly vulnerable to infection. Lyn’s most recent research projects focus on promoting the concept of asepsis (infection-free environments) and examining how well health professionals understand the notion of surgical conscience, which guides ethical decisions in the operating room and during recovery.

“The concept of ‘surgical conscience’ has never really been explored. It is described in literature, but until now, there has been no evidence collected to support the description. Our cross-national study, led by Associate Professor Jed Duff, is a world-first.”

Patient safety advocates like Lyn emphasise the importance of surgical conscience in promoting accountability and preventing surgical wound infections. It helps to ensure that aseptic techniques are followed closely during surgical interventions and that any risks are reported so appropriate infection control measures can be carried out swiftly.

“By providing an evidence-based understanding of surgical conscience, the study will provide a platform for teaching the concept to existing and future health professionals in a more consistent and effective manner.”

Lyn is also the co-investigator for a pilot project exploring the under-researched notion of asepsis. Supported by a Mid North Coast Local Health District research grant, Lyn is investigating whether asepsis practices are currently applied effectively in real-world settings.

“There is an assumption that nurses know, and therefore practice, aseptically; however, hospital-acquired infection statistics suggest this may not be consistently occurring.

“We must understand our own actions as health professionals so we can change or adjust our practices to minimise risk to our patients.”

Lyn’s passion for best practice healthcare infuses all her work, including her innovative online and face-to-face courses based at the University’s Port Macquarie campus.

“I share relevant research results with students and encourage them to seek out evidence to support their practice. I love it when they question why they are doing something! Then I know they are thinking critically.”

Stopping the spread of superbugs

Dr Lynette Bowen is determined to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and halt the spread of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ bacteria by researching hygiene-based methods of preventing and reducing infections within hospital settings.Imagine a world without antibiotics, where a minor infection could…

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Career Summary

Biography

Dr Lynette Bowen is a registered nurse and lecturer with the University of Newcastle’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, based at the University’s Port Macquarie campus. Her research is focused on infection prevention and control using qualitative and mixed method designs through collaborative clinical partnerships. Her research interests also extend to teaching approaches, undergraduate nursing student experiences and other clinical situations.

Prior to her academic appointment, Dr Bowen worked with the North Coast Area Health Service as the Nurse Educator for Port Macquarie Base Hospital. In this capacity, she gained extensive experience in clinical education. She also worked as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in infection prevention and control. Both roles provided a strong foundation for Dr Bowen’s future research interests in these areas, leading her to complete a PhD in 2015.

Research: Dr Bowen’s doctoral research explored the experiences of registered nurses as they mentored undergraduate nursing students in a rural context. This research area grew out of Dr Bowen’s commitment to hands-on educational opportunities for students, and a firmly held belief in the power of education and clinical practice to complement and strengthen each other. 

Dr Bowen has experience creating mixed method research designs and implementing qualitative research projects. In 2014, she led a study that examined the effects of Talking Circles on the experiences of first-year university students. More recently, Dr Bowen has worked on a first-of-its-kind study into the emerging concept of surgical conscience and worked as co-investigator for a project exploring the under-researched notion of asepsis (bacteria-free environments). Dr Bowen has also researched the use of e-portfolios to facilitate work integrated learning (WIL) in construction and nursing disciplines and has written and reviewed literature within these topics. Across all her research endeavours, Dr Bowen is committed to collaborative studies that combine clinical and research knowledge, and support both existing and future health professionals.

Teaching: Dr Bowen brings more than 30 years of teaching experience to her role with the University of Newcastle. With expertise in clinical and university teaching, she provides invaluable expertise for the University’s undergraduate courses, using face-to-face, blended and online modes. She also contributes to course design and development, especially in the area of infection control and prevention, and teaches into the University’s postgraduate infection control course.

Dr Bowen is passionate about facilitating learning environments that equip the next generation of nurses to deliver safe, competent nursing care. She is a long-standing member of the Centre for Health Professional Education, which focuses its interests on research that will enhance the education of health professionals, with an emphasis on improved patient outcomes.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • General Nursing Certificate, Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Diploma of Teaching (Nursing), Newcastle College of Advanced Education
  • Bachelor of Education (Nursing), University of New England
  • Master of Nursing (Professional Studies), University of Technology Sydney

Keywords

  • Clinical education
  • Infection Control
  • Medical nursing
  • Mentoring
  • Mixed methods research
  • Professional portfolios
  • Qualitative description
  • Rural
  • Surgical nursing

Languages

  • English (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified 50
139999 Education not elsewhere classified 50

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australia

Membership

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2010 -  Membership - Australian College of Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) Australian College of Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC)
Australia
1/01/1996 -  Membership - Australian Nurse Teachers Society (ANTS) Australian Nurse Teachers Society (ANTS)
Australia
1/01/1988 -  Membership - Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Australian College of Nursing

Awards

Award

Year Award
2017 School Collaboration and Engagement Excellence Award
School of Nursing and Midwifery

Recognition

Year Award
2016 Certificate of Recognition: World Teachers Day 2016
Australian College of educators
2009 Faculty Teaching and Learning Excellence Award
Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle
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Publications

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


Chapter (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Bowen L, 'Asepsis and infection prevention and control', Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery, a person centred approach to care, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Pty Ltd, North Ryde, NSW, Australia 682-717 (2017)
2016 Noble DI, Bowen L, 'Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: A Person-Centred Approach to Care', Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: a person-centred approach to care, Wolters Kluwer Health, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (2016)
Co-authors Danielle Noble
2014 Bowen LJ, Noble D, 'Hygiene', Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: a person-centred approach to care, Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia 848-893 (2014) [B2]
Co-authors Danielle Noble
2014 Bowen LJ, Noble D, 'Skin integrity and wound care', Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: A Person-Centred Approach to Care, Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia, PA 894-936 (2014) [B2]
Co-authors Danielle Noble
2014 Bowen LJ, 'Fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance', Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: a person centred approach to care, Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia 1226-1288 (2014) [B2]
2012 Levett-Jones TL, Bowen LJ, Simmons CA, Sher WD, 'The professional nursing and construction curricula', Work Ready: E-Portfolios to Support Professional Placements, Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, NSW 13-29 (2012) [B1]
Co-authors Willy Sher, Tracy Levett-Jones
Show 3 more chapters

Journal article (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Bowen L, Kable A, Keatinge D, 'Registered nurses' experience of mentoring undergraduate nursing students in a rural context: a qualitative descriptive study', CONTEMPORARY NURSE, 55 1-14 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/10376178.2018.1513808
Co-authors Ashley Kable
2015 Levett-Jones T, Bowen L, Morris A, 'Enhancing nursing students' understanding of threshold concepts through the use of digital stories and a virtual community called 'Wiimali'', Nurse Education in Practice, 15 91-96 (2015) [C1]

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Wiimali is a dynamic virtual community developed in 2010 and first implemented into our Bachelor of Nursing (BN) program in 2011. The word Wiimali comes from ... [more]

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Wiimali is a dynamic virtual community developed in 2010 and first implemented into our Bachelor of Nursing (BN) program in 2011. The word Wiimali comes from the Gumiluraai Aboriginal language. Wiimali and the digital stories it comprises were designed to engage nursing students and enhance their understanding of the threshold concepts integral to safe and effective nursing practice.In this paper we illustrate some of the key features of Wiimali with web links to a virtual tour of the community and a selection of digital stories. We explain how this innovative educational approach has the potential to lead to transformative learning about concepts such as social justice, person-centred care and patient safety.Consistent feedback about Wiimali attests to the positive impact of this educational approach. Students have commented on how Wiimali caused them to think differently about the concepts of community and social justice; how it brings the health-related problems of community members to life; and how the digital stories enhance their learning about person-centred care and patient safety.

DOI 10.1016/j.nepr.2014.11.014
Citations Scopus - 13Web of Science - 14
Co-authors Tracy Levett-Jones
2013 Sinclair PM, Bowen L, Donkin B, 'Professional nephrology nursing portfolios: Maintaining competence to practise', Renal Society of Australasia Journal, 9 35-40 (2013) [C1]

Australian and New Zealand nurses are required to make statutory disclosures as part of their nursing registration renewal. One area of self-disclosure relates to maintaining comp... [more]

Australian and New Zealand nurses are required to make statutory disclosures as part of their nursing registration renewal. One area of self-disclosure relates to maintaining competence to practise. Nurses are required to develop and maintain a portfolio that demonstrates their assessment of practice, continuing professional development (CPD) and recency of practice in order to meet their registering bodies' required standards. One of the obstacles for nurses is a clear understanding of what constitutes a professional portfolio as well as what is required of them to demonstrate continuing competence. This paper discusses, from both the Australian and New Zealand regulation authorities' perspectives, the maintenance of competency, the requirements for demonstrating CPD, and how a professional portfolio assists in providing this evidence.

Citations Scopus - 3
Co-authors Peter Sinclair
2011 Bowen LJ, 'Developing an infection control conscience in undergraduate nursing students', Australian Nursing Journal, 19 43 (2011) [C3]
Show 1 more journal article

Conference (8 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Bowen LJ, Kable A, Keatinge D, 'The effect of a communication and information intervention on the registered nurse mentoring and preceptor experience', The effect of a communication and information intervention on the registered nurse mentoring and preceptor experience, Melbourne Park Function Centre (2016)
Co-authors Ashley Kable
2011 Williams AP, Simmons CA, Gu N, Sher WD, Levett-Jones TL, Bowen LJ, 'Exploring students' demonstration of professional work integrated learning through e-portfolios', 2011 International Conference on E -Business and E -Government (ICEE) Proceedings, Shanghai, China (2011) [E1]
DOI 10.1109/ICEBEG.2011.5881518
Co-authors Willy Sher, Tracy Levett-Jones
2011 Keatinge DR, Kable AK, Bowen LJ, 'Keeping undergraduate nurse mentors informed: Are we there yet?', Innovations in Nursing Practice, Thinking Aloud, Thinking Ahead: 15th Australasian Nurse Educators Conference 2011, Hamilton, NZ (2011) [E3]
Co-authors Ashley Kable
2010 Bowen LJ, Keatinge DR, Kable AK, 'Looking after an undergraduate student nurse: What is it really like for a registered nurse?', 3rd International Nurse Education Conference. Programme, Sydney (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Ashley Kable
2010 Williams AP, Levett-Jones TL, Sher WD, Simmons CA, Gu N, Bowen LJ, 'Can ePortfolios assist university students' work integrated learning? Exploring professional competencies in nursing and construction management', ePortfolios Australia Conference 2010: Book of Abstracts and Papers, Melbourne, VIC (2010) [E1]
Co-authors Tracy Levett-Jones, Willy Sher
2010 Simmons CA, Williams AP, Levett-Jones TL, Sher WD, Bowen LJ, Gu N, 'Can e-Portfolios assist students' learning in the work place? Exploring students' demonstration of their professional work experience through e-Portfolios in the Construction Management and Nursing disciplines', Learning Forum London 2010. Internet of Subjects Forum Proceedings, London (2010) [E1]
Co-authors Willy Sher, Tracy Levett-Jones
2010 Simmons CA, Williams AP, Levett-Jones TL, Sher WD, Bowen LJ, Gu N, 'Worlds apart? Developing a professional competency assessment framework that links university education with 'real world' practices in the Construction Management and Nursing disciplines', Learning Forum London 2010. Internet of Subjects Forum, London (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Tracy Levett-Jones, Willy Sher
2008 Bowen LJ, Kenny K, Levett-Jones TL, 'When a flexible delivery learning model becomes flexible!', 13th National Nurse Education Conference. Program, Sydney, NSW (2008) [E3]
Co-authors Tracy Levett-Jones
Show 5 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 8
Total funding $171,026

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


20191 grants / $17,018

Nurses understanding and application of asepsis in clinical contexts$17,018

Funding body: Mid North Coast Local Health District

Funding body Mid North Coast Local Health District
Project Team

Barbara May, CNC IPC (MNCLHD & Lynette Bowen PhD

Scheme Research Support Grant Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2021
GNo
Type Of Funding C1600 - Aust Competitive - StateTerritory Govt
Category 1600
UON N

20182 grants / $6,800

Supporting the development of empathy in undergraduate nursing students using a patient communicaiton simulator (PCS) known as ALEX$6,000

Funding body: 2018 Strategic Pilot Grant - Research and Teaching, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Funding body 2018 Strategic Pilot Grant - Research and Teaching, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Pauletta Irwin, Muhammad Alqudah, Lynette Bowen, Cassie Kinsela, Sara Geale, Lee lethbridge, Michelle Guithermino, Danielle Noble, Alison Hutton

Scheme 2018 Strategic Pilot Grant - Research and Teaching, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

2018 National Nursing Forum$800

Funding body: Australian College of Nursing

Funding body Australian College of Nursing
Project Team

Lynette Bowen

Scheme National Nursing Forum Scholarship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

20151 grants / $10,298

Development of a strategic plan to enhance students' experience of clinical placement at Port Macquarie Base Hospital$10,298

Funding body: Hunter and Coast Interdisciplinary Clinical Training Network

Funding body Hunter and Coast Interdisciplinary Clinical Training Network
Project Team

Dr Lynette Bowen, Assoc Professor Pamela Van der Riet, Ms Gunilla Haydon, Mrs Sue Creech, Mr Alan Pretty, Mr Michael Parrey, Mrs Lisa Vickery, Mrs Felicity Tipping

Scheme H&C ICTN Research and Quality Improvement Small Grants
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N

20141 grants / $5,000

The effect of talking circles on undergraduate students' first year of experience at university$5,000

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Lynette Bowen, Graeme Brwone, Julie McLeod, Karen Moran, Andrew Hart

Scheme 2014 Strategic Pilot Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20111 grants / $1,150

Australasian Nurse Educators Conference 2011, Wintec, Hamilton, New Zealand, 23 - 25 November 2011$1,150

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Lynette Bowen
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1100849
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20091 grants / $130,000

Facilitating WIL through skills-enabled e-portfolios in the disciplines of construction & nursing$130,000

Funding body: Australian Learning and Teaching Council

Funding body Australian Learning and Teaching Council
Project Team

Assoc. Prof. Anthony Williams, Assoc. Prof. Tracy Levett-Jones, Dr Willy Sher, Lynette Bowen, Dr Ning Gu

Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2010
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N

20081 grants / $760

13th National Nurse Educators Conference, Southee Complex, Sydney Showground, 9/9/2008 - 11/9/2008$760

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Lynette Bowen
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0189579
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current1

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2018 PhD An Exploration of a Collaborative Clinical Placement Program: Key Stakeholder Stories Regarding Clinical Placement Experiences and the Professional Development Journey toward Work Readiness of Nursing Students PhD (Nursing), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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Dr Lynette Bowen

Position

Lecturer
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Focus area

Nursing

Contact Details

Email lynette.bowen@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 6581 6297
Fax (02) 6583 9801
Links Twitter
Google+

Office

Room DG.22A
Building D Block
Location Port Macquarie Campus
Cnr Oxley Highway and Widderson Street
Port Macquarie, NSW 2444
Australia
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