Professor Birks’ professional goal is to enhance the quality and experience of tertiary education for students and educators through leadership, research and innovation. Her track record in publication, grant success and consultancies demonstrate her determination to advance scholarship in health professional education. Professor Birks’ professional goal grew out of her own experience of the power that education has in promoting and enhancing personal and professional opportunities for practitioners and educators in the health sciences.

Professor Birks’ publications include the 7 textbooks, most notably Grounded Theory – a practical guide (2011, 2015), and Qualitative Methodology – a practical guide (2014), along with around 100 peer reviewed publications and book chapters

Professor Birks’ has extensive experience and expertise in educational administration, teaching and curriculum design and development in local, international, military and civilian environments, and has worked in Malaysia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Australia. She is active on numerous expert advisory panels and is also a recipient of the Australian Defence Medal.

  • Undergraduate nursing education
  • Teaching innovation
  • Internationalisation of curricula
  • Preparation for practice
  • Professional transition
  • Qualitative research
  • Research principles and methods
  • Professional issues
  • Leadership and management
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Communication
  • Fundamental nursing skills
  • 2012 to present - Adjunct Professor, Monash University (Melbourne)
  • 2011 to 2012 - Deputy Dean, Central Queensland University (Noosa)
  • 1997 to 2011 - Senior lecturer, Monash University (Gippsland)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2010 - Student nominee – Monash University Student Union
  • 2010 - Faculty nominee – Monash University Vice Chancellor’s award for teaching excellence
  • 2007 - Golden Apple teaching awards
  • 2007 - Australian Defence Medal
  • 2005 - Australian Postgraduate Award
  • 2011 - Australian College of Nursing Australia (Fellow)
  • 1997 to 2015 - Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Standby Reserve – Commissioned Officer (Flight Lieutenant)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 97+ research outputs authored by Prof Melanie Birks from 1993 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Townsville Health Service District - Research Trust Fund

Nurse practitioner in the THHS: An exploration of current and potential roles

Indicative Funding
This research aims to understand the actual potential contribution of nurse practitioners to the local health service from the perspective of senior hospital managers. This research will (1) Describe the current roles and dominant work patterns of nurse practitioners employed in the THHS district (2) Identify unmet service demand that could potentially be filled by nurse practitioners (3) Develop recommendations to enhance the capacity of practitioners to address the unmet service demand in the THHS context. Achieving these aims will contribute to an understanding of the current role of the nurse practitioner in the local health services and identify strategies to expand its scope.
John Smithson, Melanie Birks, David Lindsay and Sandra Crook (College of Healthcare Sciences and Townsville Health Service District)
Nurse Practitioner; Nursing roles; Scope of Practice; Service demand

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - Research Grant

Factors that impact on the ability of clinical facilitators to effectively support nursing students undertaking professional experience placement at THHS.

Indicative Funding
The aim of this research is to investigate factors that impact on the ability of clinical facilitators to effectively support nursing students undertaking professional experience placement at THHS. The project will use a descriptive exploratory design and involve two phases. All the participants will be asked to complete a short demographic survey. The first phase will consist of three focus groups conducted over 1-2 hrs. Semi-structured open-end questions will be used during the interviews and the data will be transcribed and qualitatively analysed. The second phase with include follow-up focus groups using the same technique as the first phase. The findings of this study will assist THHS to identify strategies to assist clinical facilitators to provide a positive quality experience for nursing students when undertaking professional placement experience.
Lea Budden, Melanie Birks, Maria Higgs and Donna Budge (College of Healthcare Sciences and Townsville Health Service District)
Clinical facilitators; Nursing Students; Professional Experience; Placement

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Working Together: Internationally Qualified Registered Nurses in the Australian Healthcare System (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A Historical Exploration of Instruccions de Enfermeros (Instructions for Nurses) and its Influence on the Nursing Profession in 17th Century Spain (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Genetic Literacy of Registered Nurses and Midwives and Their use of Genetics/Genomics in Clinical Practice (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Caring Profession: In Need of a Cure? (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • New graduate registered nurse practice readiness for Australian health care contexts: A collective instrumental case study. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • North Queensland Adolescent Mental Health Literacy: A 10 Year Follow up (PhD , Advsor Mentor)
  • Does the Schema Model explain developmental origins and maintaining factors of depression? (PhD , Advsor Mentor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

  • 25.250, Nursing Sciences (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Advisor Mentor
Find me on…
Icon for Scopus Author page Icon for ORCID profile Icon for Publons reviewer profile

Similar to me

  1. Dr Janet Buchan
    College of Arts, Society & Education
  2. Prof Lee Stewart
    College of Healthcare Sciences
  3. Dr John Smithson
    College of Healthcare Sciences
  4. A/Prof Caryn West
    College of Healthcare Sciences
  5. Prof Jane Mills
    College of Healthcare Sciences