Prestigious fellowship awarded to leading nurse researcher

Blacktown Hospital nurse and researcher Dr Caleb Ferguson

Blacktown Hopsital nurse Dr Caleb Ferguson has been awarded a Fellowship of the Australian College of Nursing (ACN).

An ACN Fellowship is a prestigious member status awarded to nurse leaders in recognition of their significant achievements and contributions to the profession.

Dr Ferguson is a registered nurse with more than a decade of clinical experience caring for individuals with stroke, neurological and cardiovascular conditions.

He is a Heart Foundation supported senior research fellow, holding a conjoint appointment with Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and the Western Sydney Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre at Western Sydney University.

His current research interest is the intersection of nursing practice and emerging technologies – such as the use of digital apps to revolutionise patient care, and the potential for smartphone or wearable device technologies to forecast illness.

In 2020, he was awarded a major grant of $606,000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to conduct a new trial into the world’s most common heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation (AF) – a condition where the heart beats irregularly.

AF is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure and dementia as well as the leading cause of cardiovascular hospitalisation in Australia.

The study will design and evaluate a digital education intervention aimed to improve self-care practices, quality of life and reduce potentially avoidable hospitalisations.

Dr Ferguson is a member of the Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee; secretary of the Cardiovascular Nursing Council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand; and Deputy Director of the Implementation Science Platform of the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE).

He has contributed to the development of national clinical practice guidelines, including the National Heart Foundation Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, Australian Clinical Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation (2018) and the Stroke Foundation Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management (2017).

Since 2012 he has been a Stroke Safe Ambassador for the Stroke Foundation. In 2020, he was also appointed as a Fellow of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand and Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology.