Dr Victoria Pitt
School of Nursing and Midwifery (Nursing)
- Phone:(02) 4921 6645
Enriching the student experience
Through teaching and research, Victoria Pitt outworks her passion for supporting tertiary nursing students from enrolment to the workforce.
During her 15-year career as a registered nurse, Victoria always made time to listen and understand her patients’ experiences. It was part of what made her shine in the role, and what eventually led her down a new path with the University of Newcastle, where she supports and researches the tertiary journey of nursing students.
“I think every student should be given the opportunity to succeed.
To me, student success is not just about passing grades. It also requires satisfaction with the experience of learning and completing the degree with the ability to move into full-time work if desired.”
As program convenor for the Bachelor of Nursing, Victoria is focused on enhancing student engagement and retention, and seeing every student reach their full potential. To do this, she works closely with nursing students to hear and understand their challenges, then builds robust teaching strategies that helps them thrive.
“We have a great nursing program at the University. My job is to make sure that it continues to engage students, keeping them interested, so they can retain information more easily.”
Internationally, the field of nursing is experiencing a significant workforce shortage driven by escalating healthcare needs and ageing populations. This puts nursing students in high demand, with great job prospects, but also presents a challenge for the industry.
“To help our students succeed, and to ensure we are meeting the rising demand for high-quality nurses worldwide, we need to understand the factors that influence academic performance and collaborate across the University to provide the right support structures.”
Along with providing valuable educational support, Victoria’s academic role involves supervising PhD candidates and researching the student experience. Key research insights are then used to inform and strengthen the program’s teaching practices and structures.
“Like my teaching role, my research area is predominantly focused around student retention and success.
“As factors impeding student success are identified, I strive to integrate new strategies into the Bachelor of Nursing program to improve students’ progression and experiences.”
Victoria first began researching the student experience for her PhD, which she completed with the University of Newcastle in 2014. Her study looked at what influenced students’ performance and progress through the program—such as students’ critical thinking skills and class attendance—and what forms of support were beneficial.
“Our study showed that structured support services were imperative for first-year students, especially those experiencing course failure or returning from study leave.”
Victoria is currently involved in the early stages of a collaborative project with Hunter New England Health and the University of South Australia to explore the use of virtual patients for student learning. The patient-centred online program would give students the chance to think critically about pain assessment in complex scenarios.
“It’s important that we continue to create research-informed nursing pre-registration programs that address the changing learning environment, the evolving learning needs of students, and future practice requirements of registered nurses.”
Victoria is a strong advocate of lifelong learning, not only for her students, but also her herself. With years of postgraduate studies under her belt, she also recently participated in the University’s ThinkWell Early and Mid-Career Women’s Development Program, facilitated through the Faculty of Health and Medicine's Gender Equity Committee. The program provided an opportunity for Victoria strengthen her research strategies alongside like-minded research peers at the University.
“Education is not just about keeping abreast of current evidence-based practice—it’s also about the enjoyment of gaining new knowledge!
“Connecting with women who had a variety of research focuses opened my eyes to current movements in health research.”
Victoria is the Head of Discipline-Nursing for the School of Nursing and Midwifery with the University of Newcastle. An educator, researcher and registered nurse, Victoria is skilled at using evidence to promote the progression and retention of tertiary nursing students.
Victoria is a registered nurse clinician, with 15 years experience working in fields such as oncology, haematology and palliative care, before commencing her academic career. While working as a nurse, Victoria continued to study evidence-based practice and pursue research, specifically, focusing on patient experiences at the end of life.
Victoria stepped into an academic role with the University of Newcastle in 2006. At the same time, her research focus shifted: moving from patients’ experiences at the end of life, to students’ experiences through their pre-registration program. Victoria was appointed Bachelor of Nursing Program convenor following the completion of her PhD in 2014 until 2019. In this capacity, she has guided the program through multiple accreditations and supported students’ ongoing growth and development.
Victoria’s early research explored patient experiences at the end of life. Her research master’s investigated oncology patients’ use of complementary therapies. Over time, Victoria’s attention took on a new challenge: understanding student experiences of tertiary education. Victoria’s PhD research, completed in 2014, explored the factors that impact on Bachelor of Nursing students' academic and clinical progression. Victoria continues to engage in research that explores student progression in Bachelor of Nursing programs, alongside projects studying the nursing curriculum, students’ critical thinking skills and the experience of international students. Victoria current PhD utilises her experience in both qualitative and quantitative designs.
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
- Graduate Diploma of Nursing and Palliative Care, Australian Catholic University
- Master of Nursing, University of Newcastle
- Academic progression
- Bachelor of Nursing
- Nursing Curriculum
- Nursing education
- Palliative care
- Program development
- student learning
Fields of Research
|119999||Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified||100|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Newcastle
School of Nursing and Midwifery
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
Bachelor of Nursing Program Convenor
Program convenors assist students to access http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/support"><span style="color:#0066cc;">support to reach their academic potential and to tackle life's challenges.
|School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle
School of Nursing and Midwifery
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Chapter (4 outputs)
Van Der Riet PJ, Pitt V, 'Caring for a person requiring palliative care', Clinical reasoning learning to think like a nurse, Pearson, Melbourne 296-315 (2018)
Van Der Riet PJ, Pitt V, Blyton G, 'Nursing Care of People Experiencing Loss, Grief, and Death', Medical surgical nursing. Critical thinking for person centred care, Pearson, Melbourne 67-83 (2017)
Van Der Riet PJ, Pitt VL, 'Caring for a person requiring palliative care', Clinical Reasoning : Learning to Think Like a Nurse, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW 244-263 (2013) [B2]
Van Der Riet PJ, Pitt VL, Blyton GM, 'Nursing care of clients experiencing loss, grief and death', Medical Surgical Nursing: Critical Thinking in Client Care, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW 90-106 (2011) [B2]
|Show 1 more chapter|
Journal article (14 outputs)
Everson N, Levett-Jones T, Pitt V, 'The impact of educational interventions on the empathic concern of health professional students: A literature review', Nurse Education in Practice, 31 104-111 (2018)
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd This review aimed to identify programs that promote health professional students' empathic concern. Empathic concern is a key mediator of important outcom... [more]
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd This review aimed to identify programs that promote health professional students' empathic concern. Empathic concern is a key mediator of important outcomes for both patients and health professionals. However the empathic concern of health professional students tends to decline over the course of their studies. To date studies that have evaluated the impact of educational programs on empathic concern have not been reviewed. The databases ProQuest, CINAHL and Ovid were searched for studies that had evaluated educational programs for health professional students using a validated psychometric measure of empathic concern. Studies were graded using The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies. Of 2977 identified studies, fifteen met inclusion criteria. Seven studies separately reported empathic concern scores. Four of the fifteen studies reported increased empathy scale scores after students took part in a program. Two studies received a strong quality rating, six a moderate rating and seven a weak rating. This review did not identify any studies that clearly demonstrated an increase in students' empathic concern after taking part in an educational program. Mindfulness based stress reduction, providing empathy content at each stage of a degree, programs that incorporate the film Wit, and Balint groups, may promote empathic concern. In light of the significant impact of health professionals¿ levels of empathic concern on outcomes for patients and health professionals, further robustly designed research using appropriate psychometric scales is needed to inform the development of education programs in this area.
Everson N, Levett-Jones T, Pitt V, Lapkin S, Van Der Riet P, Rossiter R, et al., 'Analysis of the Empathic Concern Subscale of the Emotional Response Questionnaire in a Study Evaluating the Impact of a 3D Cultural Simulation.', International journal of nursing education scholarship, 15 (2018) [C1]
Courtney-Pratt H, Levett-Jones T, Lapkin S, Pitt V, Gilligan C, Van der Riet P, et al., 'Development and psychometric testing of the satisfaction with Cultural Simulation Experience Scale', Nurse Education in Practice, 15 530-536 (2015) [C1]
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Decreasing the numbers of adverse health events experienced by people from culturally diverse backgrounds rests, in part, on the ability of education provider... [more]
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Decreasing the numbers of adverse health events experienced by people from culturally diverse backgrounds rests, in part, on the ability of education providers to provide quality learning experiences that support nursing students in developing cultural competence, an essential professional attribute. This paper reports on the implementation and evaluation of an immersive 3D cultural empathy simulation. The Satisfaction with Cultural Simulation Experience Scale used in this study was adapted and validated as the first stage of this study. Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were undertaken to investigate the psychometric properties of the scale using two randomly-split sub-samples. Cronbach's Alpha was used to examine internal consistency reliability. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis of mean satisfaction scores and qualitative comments to open-ended questions were analysed and coded. A purposive sample (n = 497) of second of nursing students participated in the study. The overall Cronbach's alpha for the scale was 0.95 and each subscale demonstrated high internal consistency: 0.92; 0.92; 0.72 respectively. The mean satisfaction score was 4.64 (SD 0.51) out of a maximum of 5 indicating a high level of participant satisfaction with the simulation. Three factors emerged from qualitative analysis: "Becoming culturally competent", "Learning from the debrief" and "Reflecting on practice". The cultural simulation was highly regarded by students. Psychometric testing of the Satisfaction with Cultural Simulation Experience Scale demonstrated that it is a reliable instrument. However, there is room for improvement and further testing in other contexts is therefore recommended.
Pitt V, Powis D, Levett-Jones T, Hunter S, 'The influence of critical thinking skills on performance and progression in a pre-registration nursing program', Nurse Education Today, 35 125-131 (2015) [C1]
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Background: The importance of developing critical thinking skills in preregistration nursing students is recognized worldwide. Yet, there has been limited exp... [more]
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Background: The importance of developing critical thinking skills in preregistration nursing students is recognized worldwide. Yet, there has been limited exploration of how students' critical thinking skill scores on entry to pre-registration nursing education influence their academic and clinical performance and progression. Aim: The aim of this study was to: i) describe entry and exit critical thinking scores of nursing students enrolled in a three year bachelor of nursing program in Australia in comparison to norm scores; ii) explore entry critical thinking scores in relation to demographic characteristics, students' performance and progression. Method: This longitudinal correlational study used the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) to measure critical thinking skills in a sample (. n=. 134) of students, at entry and exit (three years later). A one sample t-test was used to determine if differences existed between matched student critical thinking scores between entry and exit points. Academic performance, clinical performance and progression data were collected and correlations with entry critical thinking scores were examined. Results: There was a significant relationship between critical thinking scores, academic performance and students' risk of failing, especially in the first semester of study. Critical thinking scores were predictive of program completion within three years. The increase in critical thinking scores from entry to exit was significant for the 28 students measured. In comparison to norm scores, entry level critical thinking scores were significantly lower, but exit scores were comparable. Critical thinking scores had no significant relationship to clinical performance. Conclusion: Entry critical thinking scores significantly correlate to academic performance and predict students risk of course failure and ability to complete a nursing degree in three years. Students' critical thinking scores are an important determinant of their success and as such can inform curriculum development and selection strategies.
Everson N, Levett-Jones T, Lapkin S, Pitt V, van der Riet P, Rossiter R, et al., 'Measuring the impact of a 3D simulation experience on nursing students' cultural empathy using a modified version of the Kiersma-Chen Empathy Scale', Journal of Clinical Nursing, (2015) [C1]
Aims and objectives: To determine the effect of immersive 3D cultural simulation on nursing students' empathy towards culturally and linguistically diverse patients. Backgrou... [more]
Aims and objectives: To determine the effect of immersive 3D cultural simulation on nursing students' empathy towards culturally and linguistically diverse patients. Background: Accelerated globalisation has seen a significant increase in cultural diversity in most regions of the world over the past forty years. Clinical encounters that do not acknowledge cultural factors contribute to adverse patient outcomes and health care inequities for culturally and linguistically diverse people. Cultural empathy is an antecedent to cultural competence. Thus, appropriate educational strategies are needed to enhance nursing students' cultural empathy and the capacity to deliver culturally competent care. Design: A one-group pretest, post-test design was used for this study. The simulation exposed students to an unfolding scene in a hospital ward of a developing county. Methods: A convenience sample of second-year undergraduate nursing students (n = 460) from a semi-metropolitan university in Australia were recruited for the study. Characteristics of the sample were summarised using descriptive statistics. T-tests were performed to analyse the differences between pre- and post simulation empathy scores using an eight item modified version of the Kiersma-Chen Empathy Scale. Results: Students' empathy towards culturally and linguistically diverse patients significantly improved after exposure to the 3D simulation experience. The mean scores for the Perspective Taking and Valuing Affective Empathy subscales also increased significantly postsimulation. Conclusions: The immersive 3D simulation had a positive impact on nursing students' empathy levels in regards to culturally and linguistically diverse groups. Research with other cohorts and in other contexts is required to further explore the impact of this educational approach. Relevance to clinical practice: Immersive cultural simulation experiences offer opportunities to enhance the cultural empathy of nursing students. This may in turn have a positive impact on their cultural competence and consequently the quality of care they provide to culturally and linguistically diverse patients.
Levett-Jones T, Pitt V, Courtney-Pratt H, Harbrow G, Rossiter R, 'What are the primary concerns of nursing students as they prepare for and contemplate their first clinical placement experience?', Nurse Education in Practice, 15 304-309 (2015) [C1]
Nursing students' first clinical placement experience can be a critical turning point -reinforcing professional aspirations for some, and for others, a time of emotional turb... [more]
Nursing students' first clinical placement experience can be a critical turning point -reinforcing professional aspirations for some, and for others, a time of emotional turbulence. There is a paucity of research focusing on students' perceptions and concerns prior to their first placement experience. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore the concerns of first year bachelor of nursing students from one Australian university as they prepared for their first clinical placement. Participants completed an online 'readiness for practice' survey consisting of 22 items. This paper focuses on participants' responses to the one open ended question: 'Please comment on any concerns that you have in relation to being prepared for your first clinical placement'. Summative qualitative content analysis was used for analysis. 144 students (55%) responded to the open ended question. Responses were categorised into six themes including: Not prepared for placement; feeling nervous, anxious and worried; bullying and belonging; practicalities; patient safety and making mistakes; and working outside of my scope of practice. It appears that activities designed to equip students with the capacity to manage the inherent challenges of undertaking a clinical placement may sometimes have a paradoxical effect by increasing students' level of stress and anxiety. An enhanced understanding of students' concerns may help educators implement appropriate support strategies.
Pitt V, Powis D, Levett-Jones T, Hunter S, 'Nursing students' personal qualities: a descriptive study.', Nurse Educ Today, 34 1196-1200 (2014) [C1]
Hunter S, Pitt V, Croce N, Roche J, 'Critical thinking skills of undergraduate nursing students: Description and demographic predictors', Nurse Education Today, 34 809-814 (2014) [C1]
Aim: This study investigated the critical thinking skills among undergraduate nursing students in Australia to obtain a profile and determine demographic predictors of critical th... [more]
Aim: This study investigated the critical thinking skills among undergraduate nursing students in Australia to obtain a profile and determine demographic predictors of critical thinking. Background: There is universal agreement that being a critical thinker is an outcome requirement for many accreditation and registering nursing bodies. Most studies provide descriptive statistical information about critical thinking skills while some have studied the changes in critical thinking after an intervention. Limited research about factors that predict critical thinking skills is available. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted using convenience sampling. Two hundred and sixty-nine students were recruited across three years of an undergraduate programme in 2009. Most students' age ranged from under 20 to 34. years (58%), 87% were female, 91% were Australian and 23% of first and second year students had nursing associated experience external to the university. Data about critical thinking skills were collected via the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT). Linear regression analysis investigated the predictors of nursing students' critical thinking skills. Results: The students in third year had a profile of critical thinking skills comparable with HSRT norms. Year of study predicted higher critical thinking scores for all domains (p<. 0.001) except the subscale, analysis. Nationality predicted higher scores for total CT skill scores (p<. 0.001) and subscales, inductive (p=0.001) and deductive reasoning (p=0.001). Nursing associated experience predicted higher scores for the subscale, analysis (p<. 0.001). Age and gender were not predictive. However, these demographic predictors only accounted for a small variance obtained for the domains of CT skills. Conclusion: An understanding of factors that predict nursing students' CT skills is required. Despite this study finding a number of significant predictors of nursing students' CT skills, there are others yet to be understood. Future research is recommended exploring explicit CT instructional approaches and nursing students' CT skills. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Pitt V, Powis D, Levett-Jones T, Hunter S, 'The influence of personal qualities on performance and progression in a pre-registration nursing programme', Nurse Education Today, 34 866-871 (2014) [C1]
Background: Research conducted primarily with psychology and medical students has highlighted that personal qualities play an important role in students' academic performance... [more]
Background: Research conducted primarily with psychology and medical students has highlighted that personal qualities play an important role in students' academic performance. In nursing there has been limited investigation of the relationship between personal qualities and performance. Yet, reports of student incivility and a lack of compassion have prompted appeals to integrate the assessment of personal qualities into pre-registration nursing student selection. Before this can be done research is needed to explore the influence of students' personal qualities on programme performance and progression. Aim: This study explores the relationships between students' personal qualities and their academic and clinical performance, behaviours and progression through a pre-registration nursing programme in Australia. Method: This longitudinal descriptive correlational study was undertaken with a sample of Australian pre-registration nursing students (n=138). Students' personal qualities were assessed using three personal qualities assessment (PQA) instruments. Outcome measures included grades in nursing theory and clinical courses, yearly grade point average, final clinical competency, progression (completion), class attendance and levels of life event stress. Results: Significant correlations were found between academic performance and PQA scores for self-control, resilience and traits of aloofness, confidence and involvement. Final clinical competence was predicted by confidence and self-control scores. Students with higher empathy had higher levels of life event stress in their first year and class attendance had a positive correlation with self-control. Completing the programme in three years was weakly predicted by the measure of resilience. No difference was noted between extreme or non-extreme scorers on the PQA scales with respect to performance or progression. Conclusion: This sample of students' personal qualities was found to influence their academic and clinical performance and their ability to complete a pre-registration programme in three years. However, further research is required with larger cohorts to confirm the use of personal qualities assessment during selection. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
McCoy MA, Levett-Jones T, Pitt V, 'Development and psychometric testing of the Ascent to Competence Scale', NURSE EDUCATION TODAY, 33 15-23 (2013) [C1]
Pitt V, Powis D, Levett-Jones T, Hunter S, 'Can an existing personal qualities measure be used to examine nursing students' professional and personal attributes?', Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-disciplinary Journal, 15 41-54 (2013) [C1]
Pitt VL, Powis DA, Levett-Jones TL, Hunter S, 'Factors influencing nursing students' academic and clinical performance and attrition: An integrative literature review', Nurse Education Today, 32 903-913 (2012) [C1]
Jeong Y-S, Hickey N, Levett-Jones TL, Pitt VL, Hoffman KA, Norton CA, Ohr SO, 'Understanding and enhancing the learning experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse nursing students in an Australian bachelor of nursing program', Nurse Education Today, 31 238-244 (2011) [C1]
Jeong Y-S, Hickey N, Levett-Jones TL, Pitt VL, Hoffman KA, Norton CA, Ohr SO, 'Understanding and enhancing the learning experiences of culturally diverse nursing students in a bachelor of nursing program', HNE Handover. For Nurses and Midwives, 3 21-27 (2010) [C2]
|Show 11 more journal articles|
Conference (9 outputs)
Hunter S, Arthur C, Pitt VL, 'Enhancing nursing students' clinical reasoning skills: An innovative teaching strategy', 4th International Clinical Skills Conference: Showcasing Innovation and Evidenced Based Clinical Skills Education and Practice: Abstracts, Prato, Tuscany (2011) [E3]
Pitt VL, Powis DA, Levett-Jones TL, Hunter S, 'Moving towards tomorrow's workforce: Using personal qualities to guide selection', Innovations in Nursing Practice, Thinking Aloud, Thinking Ahead: 15th Australasian Nurse Educators Conference 2011, Hamilton, NZ (2011) [E3]
Hunter S, Pitt VL, Levett-Jones TL, 'Improving nursing students' clinical reasoning', Innovations in Nursing Practice, Thinking Aloud, Thinking Ahead: 15th Australasian Nurse Educators Conference 2011, Hamilton, NZ (2011) [E3]
Jeong Y-S, Pitt VL, Hickey N, Norton CA, 'Understanding and enhancing the learning experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) nursing students at an Australian University', 3rd International Nurse Education Conference. Poster Programme, Sydney (2010) [E3]
McCoy MA, Pitt VL, Levett-Jones TL, 'Testing the psychometric properties of the ascent to competence scale: A study of nursing students' clinical placement experiences', 3rd International Nurse Education Conference. Programme, Sydney (2010) [E3]
Pitt VL, Powis DA, Levett-Jones TL, Hunter S, 'Altering selection strategies: The future of undergraduate nursing education', ANZAME 2010: Overcoming Barriers, Re(E)Forming Professional Practice, Townsville, QLD (2010) [E3]
Pitt VL, Van Der Riet PJ, Levett-Jones TL, 'Integrating palliative care into undergraduate nursing curriculum. The University of Newcastle's experience', Third National Palliative Care Education Conference, Brisbane, QLD (2010) [E3]
Pitt VL, Levett-Jones TL, Hunter S, Powis DA, 'Personal qualities and nursing students clinical & academic performance', Australasian Nurse Educators Conference 2009: Concurrent Sessions, Christchurch, NZ (2009) [E3]
Pitt VL, Levett-Jones TL, Hunter S, Powis DA, 'Selection or support: The best direction for improving undergraduate nursing?', RCNA Annual Conference 09: Program and Book of Abstracts, Melbourne, VIC (2009) [E3]
|Show 6 more conferences|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||2|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20111 grants / $1,000
Australasian Nurse Educators Conferene 2011: Innovations in Nurse Education in Practice, Thinking Aloud, Thinking Ahead, Wintec Hamilton, New Zealand, 23 - 25 November 2011$1,000
Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Funding body||University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine|
|Project Team||Doctor Victoria Pitt|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20101 grants / $1,480
Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Funding body||University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine|
|Project Team||Doctor Victoria Pitt|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
Number of supervisions
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2018||PhD||Screening and Diagnosis of Dementia in Nigeria: A Mixed Method Study||PhD (Nursing), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2016||PhD||Factors Effecting Quality of Life of CKD Older People Undergo Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) at Home in a Rural Area in Thailand||PhD (Nursing), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
Dr Victoria Pitt
BN Program Convenor
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Phone||(02) 4921 6645|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6301|
Callaghan, NSW 2308