Education and research

About Us

Education and

Education and research have underpinned our work for decades.

These areas were given renewed status in 2018 with the establishment of the Ducati Owners Club of NSW Education and Research Hub. Named after our long-term supporter, the Hub is designed to harness strengths, test new ideas and push the boundaries in a broad range of multidisciplinary clinical research areas. Royal Rehab’s continuous goal is the improvement and advancement of rehabilitation and disability services.

We are proud of our culture of continuous learning at Royal Rehab where staff share knowledge and research, support the ongoing education of our teams, and train clinicians and the next generation of health professionals. We are committed to excellence in learning and development, fostering a culture of continuous improvement in the quality, safety and effectiveness of our services, and informed evidence-based practice.

Our specialist doctors and clinicians train undergraduates from the University of Sydney School of Medicine. Our facility is also a teaching hospital for the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine registrars, and we welcome international physicians to study at Royal Rehab.

Our nursing and allied health clinicians contribute significantly to student training each year from many universities. This includes a speech pathology student placement partnership with Macquarie University whereby students train in our Brain Injury Unit Speech Pathology Student Unit under the dedicated direction of a Royal Rehab speech pathology clinical educator.

Royal Rehab’s research covers many domains including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and rehabilitation practice. We have a long history of leading research projects and collaborating with other researchers to enable the growth of our research knowledge base.

We are committed to excellence in learning and development, fostering a culture of continuous improvement in the quality, safety and effectiveness of our services, and informed evidence-based practice.

Our research projects for 2018–2019 included:


Spiritual care practice in rehabilitation

A collaborative project with Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research and funded by Community of Christ investigating spiritual care practices among health professionals working in traumatic injury rehabilitation.


The significance of resilience on the longer term wellbeing of family caregivers, service utilisation and client community participation: three year follow-up

In collaboration with Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research and funded by icare.


A tele-neurological assessment for defining the neurological status of people with spinal cord injury—a validation study

A collaboration project with the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, University of Sydney to determine the validity of a neurological assessment tool.


Utilisation of the Brannagan Executive Functions Assessment in increasing self awareness in relation to the goal of returning to work in individuals post traumatic brain injury

A student project in collaboration with Flinders University.


Spinal Cord Injury Wellness Project

A collaborative project with the University of Sydney’s John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research and funded by icare to develop a health maintenance tool for people with spinal cord injury.


Improving diagnosis of verbosity following traumatic brain injury—a descriptive study

A collaborative project with Macquarie University to explore novel strategies for empirically measuring verbosity.


Spiritual care practice: trialling a staff training program in rehabilitation

A collaborative project with Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research and funded by Community of Christ evaluating a staff training program.


The nature of readmissions to acute care from inpatient rehabilitation: a retrospective cohort study

A systematic investigation to identify the rates, reasons, triggers, predictors and outcomes of readmission to acute care from rehabilitation in collaboration with the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney.


Deteriorating patients in rehabilitation: a retrospective cohort study

A student project in collaboration with the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, to systematically examine unit specific patient deterioration.


On the spot use of goals to support the biographical work of rehabilitation

A longitudinal study in collaboration with the University of Sydney and funded by the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses’ Association to evaluate nurse self-reported outcomes of an educational intervention.

Recent research highlights

Dr Julie Pryor, Nursing Research and Development Leader, Royal Rehab, and Dr Murray Fisher, University of Sydney, supervised this two-phase grounded theory study which was undertaken by Mark Baker for the award of Doctor of Philosophy. The project sought to identify and make visible male nurse practice in inpatient rehabilitation in Australia. The findings will enable better understanding of male nurse practice and will be invaluable in the preparation of the next generation of nurses.

Alex Ommanney Social Work Prize

This annual prize is dedicated to the memory of Royal Rehab’s social worker Alex Ommanney in recognition of the significant contribution he made advocating the rights of people with disabilities. This prize aims to contribute to the development of the next generation of social workers by recognising excellence in rehabilitation, catastrophic injury and disability.

University of NSW Social Work student Danya Schonberger was awarded the Royal Rehab Alex Ommanney Social Work Student Prize 2020 on World Social Work Day, 17 March 2020. University of NSW Social Work student Sanam Mani received the Highly Commended Award. This year’s World Social Work Day theme was “promoting the importance of human relationships” which Danya and Sanam showed brilliantly in their submissions.

Dr Julie PryorDr Julie Pryor

Our Research Staff

Dr Julie Pryor

RN, BA, GradCertRemoteHlthPrac, MN, PhD

Director Research & Innovation

A long nursing career and keen interest in the lived experience of acquired disability, teamwork and models of service delivery inform Julie's leadership of research and innovation at Royal Rehab. As a Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Sydney, Julie supervises research degree students. Being located among clinical staff creates opportunities for Julie to regularly engage with frontline staff to ensure contemporary clinical issues are priority areas for research. Julie invites researchers and funders interested in working with Royal Rehab to contact her to discuss possible collaborations.

Dr Murray FisherDr Murray Fisher
Our Research Staff

Dr Murray Fisher

DipAppSc (Nursing), BHSc (Nursing), Master of Health Personnel Education, PhD, RN

Nursing Scholar in Residence

Murray is an Associate Professor in Nursing at the University of Sydney and is Nursing Scholar in Residence at Royal Rehab.

Murray leads world class research in rehabilitation nursing practice, nursing sensitive patient rehabilitation outcomes and patient experience of acquired disability. Murray fosters a research culture and capability through research mentoring and supervising higher degree research students.

Murray is committed to cross-disciplinary collaborative research and welcomes the opportunity to work with consumers, clinicians and researchers to improve patient rehabilitation outcomes for people with acquired disability.

Our education and research partners