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Personal profile

Research Biography

Professor Catherine Paterson is nationally and internationally recognised as a researcher, clinician, supervisor, and teacher in cancer care.  Prof Paterson provides senior leadership for the Flinders Cancer Survivorship Program at Flinders University and Central Adelaide Local Health Network.  The focus of her applied research is on improving and addressing the unmet supportive care needs of people affected by cancer across their lifespan. She has developed and implemented innovative nurse-led cancer practice which has been recognised as clinical excellence. Recently, CI Paterson has been listed as the top 2% of scientists globally in 2023 in the 6th annual Standford-Elsevier standardized citation index (published: Oct 2023). Professor Paterson has an extensive senior nursing experience and a proven research track record with over 150 peer review publications, and $7,338,729 competitive research funding. Catherine is a global certified PRINCE2® qualification for project management and completed her intensive Women in Executive Leadership course.


She serves on state, national, and international advisory committees to support healthcare delivery and held the Editor-in-Chief for Seminars in Oncology Nursing until very recently. Under her leadership this international journal is now ranked (Q1, improved from Q4), (higher impact factor from 1.2 to 3.6), top scientific journal in performance metrics for all oncology nursing journals, and is now ranked in the top ten nursing journals globally (128 nursing journals).

Research Expertise

Professor Paterson’s paper on “Oncology Nursing During the COVID-19 Pandemic” remains the most cited article since 2020, and “The Role of Telehealth During the Pandemic across Interdisciplinary Teams: Implication for practice” remains the most downloaded article in Seminars in Oncology Nursing.

Radio Interview ABC (2023).  Media Release for UC Brain Trial and Cass Bennetts Survivorship Diary in the ACT.

Radio Interview ABC (2023).  Media Release for ACT Government investment for $7million for Cancer Research in the ACT.

Supervisor Philosophy

I believe that students studying for their PhD should have rigorous methods and subject training to become specialists in their subjects as well as in research.  I believe in cultivating creativity and innovation in research and the dignity, respect, and independence of PhD students. However, I acknowledge that not everyone knows what to do with that independence and some students prefer to have more guidance, which will be tailored on an ‘individual’ basis.   I spend much more time before a student begins his/her PhD with me to set up the expectations i.e. to ensure that the interests of the student are aligned with mine. Only after both of us are satisfied that we are suitable for each other will we proceed. However, every student goes through his/her PhD in a different way as we are all unique beings with different research questions. Some are more confident and some less so. I will try to ensure that there is a balance of independence and guidance.  I think good researchers require a curious and inquiring mind, like challenging traditional answers, they enjoy reading and learning, and have a genuine thirst to impart their learning either through teaching or writing research papers. However, not everyone is motivated by research so if you think it’s not for you, you might as well be honest about it.  You must be curious, have an inquiring mind, and love to read lots and lots, learn, and strive to make a meaningful difference in multidisciplinary cancer care. You must be able to write well and think about abstractions, rather than just do the concrete, but academic writing is a skill we all continue to develop, and I will support you fully in enhancing this skill throughout your doctoral training.

Specifically, my philosophy aims to:

Empowerment: Empowering students to take ownership of their work and make shared-decisions within their areas of responsibility within the PhD panel. I trust in their abilities and I will provide the support and resources they need to excel.

Clear Communication: Establishing open and transparent communication channels. I encourage students to share ideas, concerns, and feedback freely. I listen actively and provide timely and constructive feedback as agreed in mode and frequency together.

Setting High Standards: Setting very high but attainable standards for performance and quality is important. I believe in challenging and motivating my students to continually improve and achieve their best.

Accountability: Holding both myself and the student accountable for our commitments. I ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear, and I provide regular feedback and recognition for achievements.

Professional Development: Supporting the professional growth and development of my students is central. I identify opportunities for skill enhancement and career advancement, promoting a culture of research and continuous learning in nursing and health disciplines.

Conflict Resolution: Addressing conflicts openly and constructively, viewing them as opportunities for growth and collaboration, is healthy and allows growth. I facilitate resolution when necessary, always striving to maintain a positive and harmonious team environment.

Recognition and Appreciation: Recognizing and appreciating the contributions and efforts of my students is important. I celebrate achievements, both big and small, to foster motivation and research satisfaction.

Ethical Leadership: Upholding the highest ethical standards in decision-making and actions is important to me. I prioritize fairness, integrity, and honesty in all interactions, setting a strong example for the team.

Adaptability: Embracing change and encouraging adaptability in response to evolving circumstances and challenges is important in research. I promote innovation and learning from experiences, both successful and unsuccessful.

Team Cohesion: Nurturing a collaborative and inclusive research team culture. I value diversity of thought and perspective, fostering an environment where all students feel respected and empowered to contribute.

Self-Reflection: Continuously improving as a supervisor through self-reflection and seeking feedback. I remain open to personal growth and development, recognizing that leadership and supervision is an ongoing journey.

Alignment with Organizational Values: Ensuring that my supervisory philosophy aligns with the values and mission of our organization. I work to uphold and reinforce our organizational culture.

My supervisory philosophy aims to inspire and guide excellence within my students by fostering empowerment, clear communication, accountability, and a commitment to ethical leadership. It is centered on the idea that when individuals are empowered and supported, they can collectively achieve exceptional results while maintaining a positive and collaborative work environment.

Career Highlights

Awards in recognition of her distinguished career include: ACT Health Directorate Office of Professional Leadership and Education Award for the Best Nursing or Midwifery Research, the Australian Association of Gerontology Award for the Best Poster Related to Ageing, Health Analytics Research Collaborative Award for the Most Impactful Research Paper and the European Association of Urological Nursing for most impactful research presentation.

Featured Video/Clinical Research Case Study.  Cryotherapy as side effects management – the past, present and future.  Unmet needs of people affected by chemotherapy induced alopecia. MASCC Symposium

She has led research teams which have been awarded Outstanding Team Achievement in Research and Innovation at her previous organisation, University of Canberra, Faculty of Health.

Supervised Students Successes

Delilah Shelley Awarded Competitive PhD Scholarship UC & ACT Health $150k "How do cancer nurses use digital health record (DHR) within the nursing process to provide person-centred care (PCC)?"

Kathyrn Schubach Awarded Competitive PhD Scholarship ANZUP $100k "What are the unmet supportive care needs of people affected by bladder cancer?"  Kath work was awarded the Best Research Paper at BAUN, UK.

Shalyn Rouke PhD research work on supportive care needs of people affected by cancer in the ICU has been published in a top-quality ranking journal (Q1: impact 5.3) relevant to the clinical area, Intensive and Critical Care Nursing in September 2023.  Shalyn has also presented this research work in Singapore at the International Asia Pacific Intensive Care Symposium where the research work was ranked in the top ten of all submitted abstracts and won the ‘best allied health care research award’.

Renee Doyle (2nd Year Undergradute Student Nurse) research work on identifying the unmet supportive care needs of individuals affected by testicular cancer: A systematic review was published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. doi: 10.1007/s11764-022-01219-7 and won the best first time research presentation at CNSA Annual Congress.


Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee University, Dundee, Scotland, UK *Awarded Best PhD Prize College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing

Master of Science, Master of Science in Nursing, Centre of Advanced Nursing Studies, University of Aberdeen *Degree awarded with the highest distinction

Bachelor of Arts, BA in Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland *Degree awarded with the highest distinction

Postgraduate Certificate, PG Cert. Learning, Teaching and Assessment, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Robert Gordon University, Scotland *Post-Graduate Certificate awarded with the highest distinction

Postgraduate Certificate, Non-Medical Prescribing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Robert Gordon University, Scotland *awarded with the highest distinction

Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Quantitative Methods, School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Scotland *awarded with the highest distinction

External positions

Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra


Adjunct Professor, Robert Gordon University



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Supervisory Interests

  • Supportive care in cancer


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