Nicole Turney Memorial Grant

Nicole began working as a physiotherapist at Bendigo Base Hospital in 1990 and gradually moved into Intensive Care Unit senior roles at Bendigo, Box Hill and the Austin. She was an active committee member for Cardiorespiratory Group in Victoria.
In 1998 Nicole became very unwell. Two weeks later she passed away at the Austin Hospital. The Nicole Turney Memorial Grant was set up in Nicole’s memory in 1999, open to Cardiorespiratory Group members of the Victorian Branch. In 2009 the Nicole Turney Memorial Grant opened to all Cardiorespiratory Group members participating in short courses or professional development projects in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

2013 Recipient:  Arthur Lee

For the past 12 years I have worked in the private practice setting, and it may seem odd to a lot of people that I chose to apply for the Nicole Turney Memorial Grant.  Over the past six years I realised that there was a need for services and support for people who have come out of Pulmonary Rehab, or have been discharged from hospital with respiratory conditions.  It all started with one home visit to an elderly man to advise and manage his end stage COPD to spark an interest in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.
Over the past two years I’ve had the opportunity to advise a large private health services company on evidence based practice for allied health in managing respiratory conditions, and also had the privilege to work with respiratory physicians to provide coaching and manual treatment for respiratory conditions.

With funding from the grant, I will specifically be using it to pay for training for the Lungs in Action program run by the Lung Foundation of Australia.  This seemed like the most appropriate starting point to get into a program that has its foundations built on evidence based practice, while giving me much needed connection to other physiotherapists and health professionals who are dedicated to the cardiorespiratory field.

My hopes will be that this will be a first step towards increasing accessibility for people with cardiorespiratory conditions that will work together with existing services. My aim is to be able to facilitate self-management and increase awareness of physiotherapy in cardiorespiratory conditions, initially in the metropolitan areas of need, but eventually extending cardiorespiratory services into regional areas where access to medical and paramedical services are poor.

I feel honoured to be accepted as the recipient of the 2013 Nicole Turney Memorial Grant and I hope to meet more like minded colleagues who want to move the professional forward in cardiorespiratory care.

2012 Recipient:  Mary Santos

As a clinician in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, I use positive expiratory pressure (PEP) devices when appropriate to assist people with respiratory impairments. I was aware that an alternative PEP device called the ‘bubble-PEP’ was being constructed by physiotherapists and used to treat patients, but I did not know how prevalent the use of the bubble-PEP was by physiotherapists in Australia nor the rationale for it use. Hence, I applied for the Nicole Turney Memorial Grant in 2012 to answer these questions. The Nicole Turney Memorial Grant provided financial support to conduct an Australian wide questionnaire investigating the use of the bubble-PEP device by physiotherapists in Australian hospitals. Physiotherapists managing patients with respiratory impairments at 122 hospitals were invited to participate by completing a self-administered questionnaire. The sample included 100 randomly selected hospitals from Australian states stratified by hospital size and national distribution, plus all paediatric and territory hospitals.

Hospital response rate was 88% (n=107) with 169 participating physiotherapists. Bubble-PEP was used in 46 (43%) of all surveyed hospitals, representing 37% of surveyed state hospitals, 86% of surveyed children’s hospitals and 68% of surveyed territory hospitals. Of the participating physiotherapists, 72% (n=121) used bubble PEP. Physiotherapists used bubble-PEP as they believed it improved secretion clearance (99%), oxygen saturation (48%) or promoted deep breathing (48%); in bronchiectasis (86%), pneumonia (74%), COPD (70%) and post-operatively (61%). Physiotherapists believed that bubble-PEP splinted airways open (88%), produced PEP at the mouth (70%) and loosened secretions (66%). Seventy-seven per cent of physiotherapists were more likely to use bubble-PEP than other PEP devices due to accessibility and cost. Materials used to construct bubble-PEP were a 500 mL bottle for irrigation (54%); suction tubing (77%) of 30 cm length (46%) and 10 cm water level (34%), which was believed to generate 10 cmH2O pressure (56%).

The results of the questionnaire showed that the bubble-PEP device was commonly used in Australian hospitals by physiotherapists for a variety of reasons, but there was no standard method for constructing the device. It is still uncertain what the actual properties and physiological effects of bubble-PEP are, and I believe that further research is warranted to investigate this, which has led me to my PhD topic.

I would like to sincerely thank the cardiorespiratory group for having awarded me the Nicole Turney Memorial Grant as it provided me with support on the first step of my research journey. I would also like to thank all those who participated with this questionnaire.