School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences

The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences offers a range of vocational education and training certificates, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, across a number of health disciplines.

We deliver courses on-campus, online, and via mixed mode. A number of our postgraduate courses are delivered hyper-flexibility, which offers lean and affordable course options for self-motivated learners. These flexible online courses allow you to gain a postgraduate qualification via our Be Different platform, which are accessible anytime, self-paced and include no assessment or unit deadline constraints.

The School encompasses two Colleges:

  • College of Nursing and Midwifery
  • College of Social Work and Community Services

The School leads the way for Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Social Work students. Our educators have a strong focus on student learning and place an ever-growing emphasis on research, actively engaging in research projects that inform their teaching practices.

Many of our courses include Work Integrated Learning (WIL). The WIL Team is committed to ensuring the quality and consistency of work-related learning in all disciplines. Placements are organised by the this Team and occur in health care organisations throughout Australia. The WIL team source and assess the quality of placements, liaising with students in regard to fitness for placement and advising on the pre-WIL compulsory conditions.

There are opportunities for cultural experiences for our students. These School-led programs are short-term study tours involving a group of students, arranged by the School and students are accompanied by our academics. Students can access Student Mobility Funding under the New Columbo Plan which helps support students with travel costs. The School has been conducting International Outward-Bound programs since 2008. These have been to a multitude of locations including Nepal, India, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Singapore. There have been many interdisciplinary study tours to Nepal, previous tours have included Nursing, Midwifery and Social work students.

School philosophy

The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences delivers high quality education and research within a broad Australian context. The design and delivery of our education and higher-degree research courses provides access to education especially for individuals living in regional, rural and remote settings. Through innovative and supportive teaching practices we deliver engaging education to students within their own communities via mixed-mode and hyperflexible delivery. Students access the required professional experience placements within the communities they reside in or are close to. This contributes to local workforce development in regional, rural and remote health environments and enhances the skills and expertise within those communities. 

We welcome and supports non-traditional student groups with an aim to increase capacity for those who are first in family, from low socio-economic backgrounds and minority groups to obtain a high-quality education to change their lives and those around them. Our courses are designed to engage with communities to support their ongoing development. The School actively engages with, develops, and refines innovations in teaching and learning excellence to provide transformative education experiences for our students, partnering with local stakeholders to achieve excellent outcomes, and providing comprehensive educational pathways from vocational education and training (VET) certificates to higher level tertiary qualifications including PhDs.

The School’s research strengths improve quality and safety in healthcare, the health workforce, safe communities, and psychosocial wellbeing. Our researchers develop industry-education and collaboration. The School’s research leaders mentor and support developing academics that fosters excellence in research and establishes wider networks within and external to the university.

We look forward to welcoming you to the School.

Moira Williamson
Professor Moira Williamson, Dean, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences

The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences at CQUniversity is committed to providing a quality education that ensures an experience of study that is both successful and enjoyable for students across our range of courses in VET and Higher Education. The staff of the School encourage engagement in the education process regardless of the student's mode of enrolment. Curricula are built on solid foundations of educational principles and reflect the needs of the contemporary health care setting. The emphasis on work integrated learning ensures that the theoretical content of each course is transferable and applied in the variety of environments in which nurses, midwives and health professionals are employed.

Research activities of staff in the School ensure that the curriculum for each course is evidence-based and reflective of current practice. The globalised environment of health care requires an emphasis on internationalisation of curricula and courses offered by the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences are developed and implemented with these principles in mind. Opportunities for international student experiences are one example of how a global perspective of health care is instilled in graduates. Ultimately the School produces nurses and midwives that are highly sought after by industry through recognition of the quality of education we provide. 

Our units and courses offer opportunities in study on an education continuum from certificate level through to postgraduate qualifications, with a range of short courses and professional development modules for industry, awarded with CPD hours for annual registration with AHPRA.

Bachelor of Nursing

The Bachelor of Nursing (CL91) offers a combination of theoretical and practical units to prepare you for your nursing career. You will cover areas such as nursing patients across the age spectrum, clinical assessment skills, acute nursing, mental health, wound and pain management, professional issues, pathophysiology and health promotion. Students can undertake study from Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns or Bundaberg campuses, or study online and attend regular residential schools. Upon completion, you will be eligible to apply for registration as a nurse with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. This registration opens up opportunities to work as a nurse across Australia and to apply to work anywhere in the world.

Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry)

The Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry) offered by CQUniversity is based on a philosophy of primary health care and partnership with the woman. The midwife/woman partnership model of care is woman-centred. Woman-centred care embraces trust, empowerment, a supportive environment and continuity of care. Continuity of care enables women to establish trusting relationships with their midwifery partners. The Bachelor of Midwifery (Graduate Entry) encourages students to provide woman-centred care which is holistic encompassing, as accepted by the woman herself, the emotional, psychological and social as well as physical needs of the baby, the family and the community. Woman-centeredness' places the woman in the position of power and control as the decision-maker during her unique childbearing journey. The midwifery course at CQUniversity teaches midwives to use their expertise and evidenced-based knowledge to support and help women discover their individuality and uniqueness to birth resulting in physical and psychological growth. In other words, the woman's ability to trust and know that her body can birth her baby is acknowledged and honoured by midwives.

Bachelor of Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work (CL71) aims to produce professionally qualified social workers who have fulfilled the practice standards of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and will be eligible for membership of the AASW. Social workers pursue social justice and work to redistribute resources that assist client groups to achieve social inclusion, support people to enjoy a better quality of life, and facilitate individual and community wellbeing.

Social Work is a profession committed to social justice and respect for human rights and provides a range of services including counselling, group work, mediation, advocacy, social support, legal reports, crisis intervention and referral advice. Social workers contribute to policy development and advise governments on specific welfare issues and as such can influence how services are delivered and how society responds to social issues.

This course includes a range of units focusing on social work knowledge, values, and skills with cognate disciplines also enhancing your social work education such as psychology, sociology and Indigenous studies. Students will gain advanced knowledge of social work theory, utilise technical skills to design and use research in a project in their final year and develop skills in research design and methods. At CQUniversity, our education and training philosophy focuses on learning from contemporary social work scenarios that are often authored by colleagues working in the human services sector in collaboration with academic staff. We also have well-established industry relationships, as well as student exchange programs with several international universities. Your learning is supported with online resources and one intensive three-day residential school per term, on-campus. This combination of face-to-face residential schools, regular online activities with staff and peers, and small learning groups will equip you with advanced level skills, including critical reflection, self-directed research and learning, problem-solving and teamwork.

The flexibility of assessment items across many units allows you to focus your learning around workplace issues you may be experiencing or the community in which you live. The course incorporates two unpaid field education experiences; one undertaken at the beginning of the third year of the program (13 weeks of equivalent full-time work) and one in the final term of the fourth year (16 weeks of equivalent full-time work).


Professional nursing practice is no longer only a matter of keeping up-to-date with changes in practices. Health care professionals including nurses are at the forefront of change in practice, utilising new techniques and knowledge and acting as leaders in change processes in the workplace. The courses are designed to assist today's busy practitioners by developing the knowledge and skills in proactive practice while they gain a relevant postgraduate award.

Mental Health Nursing

CQUniversity offers a suite of courses that provide you with foundation skills and knowledge required to practice in the specialised field of mental health nursing. You will build your skills and knowledge in undertaking mental health assessments, risk assessments, and formulations.


Advance your skills as a health professional responding to the growing challenges of a diverse ageing population. You will develop an advanced understanding of the health of the older person, as well as leadership skills, by participating in new paradigms of thinking. You will enhance your practical skills and research capabilities using interdisciplinary perspectives and ageing theories that can be applied across health care contexts and cultures.

Domestic and Family Violence Practice

The postgraduate courses in Domestic and Family Violence Practice provide an opportunity to deepen skills and understanding of key practice and specialist areas in relation to domestic and family violence which are reflected in unit electives covering child safety, men's behaviour change and working with victims and survivors. The knowledge and skills gained by completing these courses are transferable across a wide range of professions and occupations where workers encounter domestic and family violence issues and include responding to victims and perpetrators, and leadership and management from a domestic and family violence perspective.

Our school offers a range of short courses and professional development modules and workshops through the Centre for Professional Development.

Our courses are based on contemporary health topics custom built in response to industry demand. Visit our Learning site.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery plays an active role in community engagement through activities in learning and teaching, research and service. We strive to remain connected with our industry partners and communities as they play a crucial role in helping us deliver quality courses that are matched to the needs of our students and the profession. We are often described as a school of innovation and 'can do' attitude. Our campuses in Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Noosa continue to grow and each facilitate engagement through a range of activities at local, national and international level.

Our aim in Community Engagement is to:

  • Promote engagement strategies and activities that are relevant, innovative, and value-adding
  • Provide and promote what we do to potential students, existing students, staff and community partners
  • Provide a mechanism for discussion and opportunities around engagement
  • Disseminate what we do through 'Innovate' our school of nursing and midwifery magazine.

Some of our key activities include:

  • Building on collaborative relationships with industry partners
  • International nurses day
  • International nursing placements in Nepal
  • Engagement activities in Simulation including Mask Ed TM (KRS Simulation).

Clinical placement is the period of learning where you get to practice in ‘real’ health care settings and with ‘real’ patients. As you can appreciate there are many policies and rules surrounding clinical placements and it is up to you to learn, understand and follow the set guidelines.

You will be required to attend placement, on the dates that have been provided to you. You will be rostered to different shifts, depending on your course. A facilitator or preceptor will complete an assessment on your skills during the placement.

Before you can attend a clinical placement you need to complete a list of mandatory checks. You will be unable to complete a clinical placement without first meeting these requirements.

It is best to start gathering this evidence early, as some requirements such as immunisations can take a while to complete.

You may like to view the Work-Integrated Learning Policy and Procedure for further information.

CQUGlobal outbound nursing short-term and study tour programs

The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences participates in the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program for Nursing Students in Singapore, Nepal and India. The purpose of these programs is to allow students to undertake an international clinical experience which provides them with the opportunity to experience different cultural and social environments and clinical settings and prepare them to work in an increasingly global community.

Why participate?

  • Learn to see the world differently
  • Develop key employability skills
  • Expand your global network
  • Engage with legitimate experiences
  • Receive CQUniversity student insurance cover
  • Access funding and scholarships

Where to go and what to do?

There are a variety of short-term overseas experiences: CQUGlobal nursing program supports 50 opportunities across 3 countries, allowing you the flexibility to choose an experience that suits your personal needs and goals between.

The outbound short term program offered by the School to undergraduate students provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance and diversify your learning experience. CQUniversity Nursing and Midwifery students have been involved in outbound programs to places such as Nepal, Japan, Singapore and Palau over the past years. These trips are an amazing experience for nursing students, and they have a tremendous impact on the communities who benefit from our student’s fundraising and clinical treatments. It is this kind of activity that is making CQUniversity one of Australia’s truly great universities.

Developed in conjunction with internationally renowned organizations, the program is designed to help you develop a global perspective by gaining an appreciation of cultural diversity through immersion in academic and clinical experiences.


There are a variety of costs involved in a short-term global experience. These costs differ enormously depending on the specific program you apply for, and the region of the world that program is located in. It is important that you research thoroughly the costs involved in the programs you would like to participate in. You can do this by visiting CQUniversity's CQUGlobal Outbound website. It is your responsibility to research and understand the full financial and academic implications of participating in any short-term global experience.

For enquiries relating to international nursing opportunities, contact our School International Officer or for general information visit our CQUGlobal Outbound page.

    The way it's delivered is so engaging. You feel like you're actually working with real people, even though it's simulation. I don't know any other professors that dress up in silicone suits and let you poke and prod them!

    Rhiana Jackson

    Bachelor of Nursing, Master of Mental Health Nursing

Research in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences

Our nursing research has been ranked at 'well above world standard' in the latest Excellence for Research in Australia exercise. This is a significant achievement for a regional university and with ongoing recruitment and promotion of research active staff, the School aspires to become one of the best research schools in Australia. The School of Nursing and Midwifery research activities involve researchers from a range of disciplines creating a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach. The research areas have a strong focus on applied research with direct benefit to regional and rural Australia but of national and international significance.

Our nursing research aligns under four primary research priority areas:

  • Quality and Safety in Healthcare
  • Health Workforce
  • Safe Communities
  • Psychosocial Wellbeing

Each priority area is overseen by a lead, whose main objective is to work with the school’s research leadership team to plan and discuss the strategies required to develop programs of research around each priority area and then oversee the implementation of same.  Priority area leads will provide leadership for the cluster leads within their priority area and will be instrumental in ensuring all research conducted within our school aligns with our articulated priority areas. This is important if we are to maximise the benefits of our research to our communities and to ensure that our school’s Fields of Education (FoE) are well represented by the Fields of Research (FoR) our staff participate in.

There are research clusters that sit within each priority area. These clusters represent an identified group of projects that align to a particular topic or field of interest and whose project members knowingly or unknowingly work together towards achieving common objectives. The purpose of the School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Science’s research clusters is to push the boundaries of knowledge on topics across a diverse spectrum and to epitomize the interdisciplinary community that exists within our school. Identified research clusters offer the platform for members working in related areas of research, often from different disciplines, to collaborate, debate issues, and discuss mutual interests. Members meet regularly to discuss funding opportunities and industry collaborations, workshop new research directions, invite speakers, and plan collaborations. Each cluster has a lead, or co-leads, who encourage (and support) cluster members to organize events, ranging from small discussion groups up to national or international conferences, and all members, regardless of their career stage, are welcome to be involved. Researchers whose work aligns with a cluster are encouraged to join forces with likeminded investigators and form fruitful collaborations for grant applications, publication writing and potential RHD supervision projects and panels.

Our school acknowledges that collaboration, innovation, and interdisciplinarity are the catchphrases for continued success in terms of research growth and stability and these comprise the headings under which our research clusters will debate and develop our school’s priority areas moving forward. Collective endeavour will prove key to our sustained research activity and outputs, so projects that involve teamwork are essential, alongside individual research trajectories.

Priority lead Associate Professor Tracy Flenady

This priority area comprises research focused on keeping patients safe from preventable harm via improving the quality and safety of healthcare. Perpetual quality improvement and innovation in practice, along with clinicians’ increased capacity to provide quality healthcare, are instrumental factors when advancing the quality and safety of patient care at the health system and service level. Research in this priority area encompasses a broad range of healthcare foci and predominantly concentrates on applied research that adopts a multi-disciplinary approach when conducting research, acknowledging the strengths of different disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. In line with the World Health Organization’s statement that effective quality and safety improvement is the result of many activities using systematic methods over a period of time, work conducted within this priority includes all aspects of research concerning the review, monitoring, evaluation and communication methods utilised in health systems. Studies investigating the perspectives of health systems, health care providers, service users, and caregivers are also included. Research conducted within this priority area strives to create knowledge that provides solutions to real-world healthcare problems, therefore contributing positive impact for those people who live and work within our communities.


  • Patient Safety and Consumer Experience (Co-Leads – Stephen Yu and Professor Eileen Willis)
  • Clinicians’ capacity building (Lead – Dr Lisa Wirihana)
  • Maternal and Family Health (Lead – Dr Tanya Capper)

Priority lead Associate Professor Pauline Calleja

Australia’s health workforce is tasked with the significant function of providing effective, safe, quality care that improves the health and well-being of our country’s diverse communities. The value of research that contributes to the development of a sustainable health workforce is increasingly recognised. Recent, current or proposed research conducted by our school that can be found within this priority area acknowledges the importance of developing frameworks that align health systems/governance and health workforce policy/planning and explores the effects of changing skill mixes and competencies across sectors and multidisciplinary groups. Health Workforce research priority areas encompasses all aspects of workforce including, but not limited to, occupational health and safety for health workers, preparation and transition to practice, continuing education and evidence-based clinical and managerial models of care. Research found within this priority area contributes to the development of a future health workforce that is responsive to diverse population needs and considerate of demographic and economic change.


  • Clinical workforce (Co-Leads – Dr Ashlyn Sahay and Professor Amanda Henderson)
  • Models of care (Lead – Dr Adele Baldwin)
  • Preparation for & Transition to, practice (Lead – Amy-Louise Byrne)

Priority lead Dr Heather Lovatt

The Safe Communities priority area consists of research conducted to inform future initiatives designed to promote safety and prevent violence and abuse of, and to, all members of our communities. Most research conducted in this space is driven from the for Centre Domestic and Family Violence Research, which  (CDFVR) sits within the School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Sciences and is based in Mackay. The centre contributes to the prevention of domestic and family violence by informing, promoting and supporting the actions of individuals, communities, services and governments through state-wide leadership in research, professional development, education and community engagement. The Centre's research function is to initiate, undertake and collaborate on innovative and interdisciplinary research and publications to reduce deficits in domestic and family violence knowledge and literature. CDFVR is also committed to undertaking applied research that supports the development of policy and practice in the field of domestic and family violence prevention with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and rural and regional communities. The World Health Organization (WHO) Manifesto for Safe Communities states that "All human beings have an equal right to health and safety". Research within this priority area complements a growing world-wide movement known as trauma informed practice, which acknowledges that trauma from neglect, violence and abuse is common in society and can lead to physical and mental health problems and psychosocial disability and disempowerment. Trauma can occur across the lifespan – and may be associated with child mistreatment, sexual violence, bullying, violent crime, marginalization, war and displacement. Research in this area is aiming to find structural solutions to prevent and resolve the consequences of trauma on individuals and communities.


  • Gendered Violence (Lead – Dr Liane McDermott)
  • Violence, Abuse & Neglect (Lead – Emily Hurren Paterson)

Professor Michelle Cleary

Wellbeing is not only the absence of illness or disease, but a complex combination of mental, emotional, physical, and social health factors. This research priority area is concerned with psychosocial wellbeing and comprises research that acknowledges the cultural, social, environmental, economic and political factors that impact the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Work conducted within this priority reflects the World Health Organization’s 2020 global policy for health and wellbeing by acknowledging the importance of people-centred health systems and creating supportive environments and resilient communities. Topics regarding the wellbeing of diverse, minority and marginalised populations are located within this priority area.


  • Aged Care  (Lead - Jennifer Mulvogue)
  • Individuals, families, and communities (Co-leads – Katrina Lane-Krebs & Dr Colleen Johnston-Devin)
  • Mental health nursing (Lead – Associate Professor Julie Bradshaw)