Bundy nurse gains second PhD at local graduation

09 December 2021

For many people the thought of completing an undergraduate degree can seem overwhelming but one Bundaberg nurse has this week achieved an amazing feat by being awarded with her second PhD qualification.

Dr Danielle Le Lagadec has now obtained PhDs in two unrelated fields' from two universities' on two different continents' in two different centuries.

Her first PhD' from the University of Pretoria' South Africa' was conferred in 1998 and focused on the physiology of scarab beetles' while her second and latest PhD from CQUniversity looks at Early Warning Systems in patient care.

Danielle's expertise and fascination with the insect world initially led to a career as an agricultural researcher in subtropical tree crop production' work that would eventually lead her to Australia and Bundaberg.

After almost a decade working for the Department of Primary Industries' looking at macadamia and avocado crops in the local region' Danielle said she made the decision to retrain and change the course of her career to become a nurse.

"I discovered that I had a passion for helping people' so I decided to try my hand at health care.

"I graduated from the Bachelor of Nursing at CQU in 2014' and was delighted to be offered a position at the Mater Hospital.

"While working as a nurse I decided I once again wanted to pursue research' so' I started my PhD in Nursing the following year' while continuing to work at the hospital'" she said.

"Doing a PhD gave me access to university resources and working at a hospital provided me with my research material.

"Patient safety was the hot topic at the time' so I chose to work on Early Warning Systems (EWS)' the tools used to help nurses recognise deteriorating patients.

"The implementation of the EWS is now mandated throughout Australia' not due to my work' but I hope that my research has made a small contribution to this very important field of health care'" she said.

Danielle's PhD supervisor' Professor Trudy Dwyer who was also awarded the title of Emeritus Professor of the University at the Bundaberg graduation ceremony' commended Danielle for her commitment to nursing research and making the decision to retrain.

"Receiving one PhD is a remarkable achievement but to gain two is almost unheard of.

"Everyone at the CQUniversity School of Nursing' Midwifery and Social Science is extremely proud of Danielle's achievements and her commitment to the nursing profession.

"It has been a pleasure to be her supervisor over the past six years and it is now a pleasure to work alongside her as an academic and professional colleague'" said Professor Dwyer.

Danielle is now helping to educate a new generation of nurses as a nursing lecturer at the Bundaberg campus.