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Halcomb, Elizabeth Prof.

Professor of Primary Health Care Nursing & Head of Postgraduate Studies, School of Nursing

  • Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
  • Health Impact Research Cluster
  • School of Nursing
  • Australian Health Services Research Institute
  • Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute
  • ISPRN (Illawarra and Southern Practice Research Network)


An international award-winning nurse academic, Liz has a strong interest in Primary Health Care nursing. In particular, her PHC research expertise relates to the nursing workforce in primary care, chronic and complex disease and lifestyle risk factor reduction. Additionally, Liz has undertaken research around the nursing academic workforce, research training and teaching and learning in nursing. Liz has extensive experience in mixed methods research, as well as having led several systematic reviews.

In 2018, Liz was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in recognition of the significant and sustained national / international recognition of her work and its positive impact on the profession and the community. In 2019, she was the first nurse to be awarded the Bridges-Webb medal by the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care. In 2020, Liz was named in 100 Outstanding women nurse and midwife leaders by the Women in Global Health (

At the University of Wollongong, Liz plays a leadership role developing PHC nursing research, as well as engaging multidisciplinary academics within Primary Health Care to address the growing challenges in providing health care within the community.

Examples of recent research include:

  • Exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on the primary health care nursing workforce.
  • The development of mental health standards for registered nurses in Australian general practice (Australian College of Mental Health Nurses).
  • Evaluation of a New Graduate nurse program in general practice (in collaboration with South Western Sydney Primary Health Network, funded by South Western Sydney Research).
  • Understanding the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of middle-aged Australians about lifestyle risk, chronic disease and the role of health professionals.
  • The development of professional practice standards for registered and enrolled nurses in Australian general practice (Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation).

Top Publications

Available as Research Supervisor

Available for Collaborative Projects

Selected Publications

Investigator On

Other Research Activities

Impact Story

  • <p>General practice nurses (GPN) have a key front line role to play in providing integrated healthcare. It was identified that many GPN encounter people with mental health issues in their daily practice, however, the role of a general nurse in mental health was unclear. Providing role clarity by defining the GPNs scope of practice is a powerful tool to reduce role confusion and ambiguity, and optimize GPNs role in improving service delivery to patients. A team of primary care and mental health nurse academics from UOW was funded by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, through the Department of Health, to develop mental health practice standards for GPNs. <br />In addition to communicating the role that general nurses can play in mental health within primary care to others, including General Practitioners, policy makers and other health professionals, the Standards provide an important framework for GPNs to assess their individual learning needs in terms of their knowledge and confidence to undertake the identified aspects of the nurses' role. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses used the Standards to develop CPD eLearning modules and workshops specifically for primary care nurses. These professional development opportunities are targeted to build capacity in areas of practice that have been identified by the Standards as being appropriate for a general nurse in the primary care setting. Each activity empowers GPNs to develop knowledge, skills and confidence about mental health and incorporate these into their day-to-day practice. This has the potential to improve health outcomes as GPNs are empowered to intervene positively when people present to general practice with mental health issues.</p>
  • This research informed the development of professional practice standards to guide the role of nurses employed in general practices across Australia. These standards impact the profession in a number of ways. Firstly, they provide a framework for tertiary institutions to develop curricula and assess student performance. Secondly, they communicate the nurses’ scope of practice to other health professionals, stakeholders such as employers and consumers. Finally, they can be used to assess an individuals’ competence to practice either as part of regular renewals of practice certification, after breaks of service or in professional conduct disputes.<br /><br />Defining the full extent of the nurses’ scope of practice in general practice is a key strategy to reducing the role confusion and ambiguity that has been reported amongst this group of nurses. Providing clarity for health professionals, consumers, policy makers, academics and the nurses themselves provides a powerful tool to optimizing the nurses’ role in this setting. This has the potential to not only improve service delivery by ensuring that nurses work to their full scope of practice but also improve job satisfaction, recruitment and retention of nurses.

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics

    • Primary care
    • Nursing workforce
    • Chronic disease, especially cardiovascular disease
    • Primary health care
    • Lifestyle risk factor modification
    • Nurse academics


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Developing a Primary Health Care Workforce: Understanding Perceptions of a PHC Career Path
    Doctor of Philosophy Communication in Healthcare.
    Doctor of Philosophy Transition to employment in forensic mental health Kinghorn, Grant
    Doctor of Philosophy An RCT of a Hypertension Management Intervention in General Practice Stephen, Catherine
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Understanding Men's Health Choices and Experiences of Interactions with Primary Care Services Mursa, Ruth
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Significance of a Leadership Qualification in the Clinical Healthcare Environment Page, Ashley
    Doctor of Philosophy Exploring the Evaluation of Collective Action and Community Partnerships in Place-based Interventions to Improve Social Connectedness of Older Australians Thompson, Cristina
    Doctor of Philosophy The role of Social Media in improving Awareness of Cardiovascular disease Shiyab, Wa'ed

Full Name

  • Elizabeth J Halcomb

Mailing Address

  • Building 41 - School of Nursing, UOW

    Northfields Avenue


    New South Wales



Web Of Science Researcher Id

  • B-6526-2011

Top Publications

Selected Publications