Professor Iain Graham BSc(CNAA), MSc(Manc), MEd(CNAA), PhD(Manch) 

Health care systems around the world are in urgent need of remodelling and Professor Iain
Graham, newly arrived from the United Kingdom, is playing a key role in making that

Professor Graham, the new Head of Southern Cross University’s School of Health and Human
Sciences, says health care systems around the world are wrongly focused on disease, not

“In terms of the economy, it’s best to stop people getting sick or intervening early. But
we have health care systems that are based on disease management rather than health
gain,” Professor Graham said. 

“This stems from a 19th century view of health and health care work. The World Health
Organisation in its various declarations has been urging national governments to realise
this as they increasingly will not be able to afford the current system of health care

Professor Graham, who spent many years working as a mental health nurse before moving
into management and education, said nursing itself needed a much broader field of
practice than just a hospital based profession. 

“The 21st century health care system will require investment in primary care and
community care whilst hospital based care will focus on an increasing bio-technical range
of therapies,” he said. 

“We are beginning a paradigm shift in how we perceive health care.” 

To help lead that change, Professor Graham is part of an international group formed by
Sigma Theta Tau International (an oganisation set up to to improve nursing care
worldwide) to promote global leadership for nurses. Its aim is to encourage leadership
and give nurses the skills to lead global change. 

“One has to look at how one can design a patient-centred system. If a country has a high
incidence of diabetes or cardio-vascular disease, for example, one needs to look at how
the systems are designed to tackle that. It is based on health promotion and preventative
measures first, hence the media campaign globally which focuses upon lifestyle issues,”
Professor Graham said. 

In the UK, where the Blair government has introduced tremendous change based upon patient
choice and access to services, nurse practitioners are playing a much greater role in
health care provision, a trend likely to be followed in Australia. 

“You have to start to think about access and choice and providing health care that is
cheaper, but more effective. That will mean you have to challenge the vested interests,”
he said. 

“We also need to look at delivering systems that target vulnerable groups and communities
within our society.” 

Professor Graham said Southern Cross University’s School of Health and Human Sciences was
ideally placed to train health care professionals who would fit this new model of health

He said the combination of disciplines such as nursing, natural and complementary
medicine, exercise science and sports management and psychology would provide great
opportunities for research and program development. 

“Other specialties we are looking at with a view for development, such as midwifery,
occupational therapy, nutrition and social work, could also play a key role,” Professor
Graham said. 

“Breastfed babies are less likely to have obesity and allergies. That goes hand-in-hand
with training midwives who can do more than just working with pregnant mums. They can
handle all sorts of women’s health issues. 

“Mental health is another area. In the UK one in four people are having a mental health
problem that is to do with lifestyle and I suspect Australia is similar.” 

Professor Graham, who has been in Australia for a few months, said he had always been
attracted to Australia. 

“I have been looking for a change of scene and saw this as a great opportunity. Health is
very much a global profession, not local,” he said. 

He’s now looking forward to the arrival of his family and two dogs and being able to
enjoy the Northern Rivers lifestyle. 

Professor Graham’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Studies, a
Master of Education, Master of Science (Nursing) and a PhD (Nursing). He has held a
number of clinical and managerial roles in mental health in the British National Health
Service. He was most recently the Dean and Professor of Nursing development at the
Institute of Health and Community Studies at Bournemouth University in Dorset, UK. 

Journal articles


Evidence based nursing and midwifery practice in a regional Australian healthcare setting: behaviours, skills and barriers (with Greg Fairbrother, Andrew Cashin, Rae Conway, and Annette Symes), Collegian (2014)

Aim:To establish self-reported skill levels, behaviours and barriers in relation to evidence-based practice (EBP) among...



Addressing the mental health nurse shortage: undergraduate nursing students working as assistants in nursing in inpatient mental health settings (with Graeme Browne, Andrew Cashin, and Dean Warren Shaw), International Journal of Nursing Practice (2013)

The population of mental health nurses is ageing and in the next few years we...



The therapeutic relationship and the mental health nurse: it is time to articulate what we do! (with Graeme Browne and Andrew Cashin), Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (2012)


A career in mental health - still an unlikely choice for nursing graduates: a replicated, longitudinal study (with John Stevens and Graeme Browne), International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (2012)


Case management of young children with behaviour and mental health disorders in school (with Graeme Browne and Andrew Cashin), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (2012)

When young children with behaviour and mental health disorders do not receive appropriate specialised support...


Book chapter

Leadership for the allied health professions (with Dawn Freshwater), Leadership for nursing and allied health professionals (2009)

This inspiring book is a wake-up call to nurses and allied health professionals to develop...


Leading and organising the faculty, Implementation of total quality principles in higher education (2000)

Understanding the nature of nursing through reflection: a case study approach, Transforming nursing through reflective practice (1998)


How do registered nurses think and experience nursing: a phenomenological investigation (thesis), Masters thesis, Huddersfield Polytechnic, Huddersfield (1991)

Therapeutic mental nursing: identifying what it is!, Honours thesis, Leeds, Polytechnic, Leeds (1985)


Perspectives on the consultant nurse role (with Sabi Redwood and Eloise Carr), School of Health and Human Sciences Papers (2005)

Identifying specialist practice as part of practice development unit development (with Steven Keen), School of Health and Human Sciences Papers (2004)

What makes a good nurse? : a study conducted for WDGH NHS Trust by Bournemouth University to identify nursing practice and care within the Trust (with Christine Partlow and Elaine Maxwell), School of Health and Human Sciences Papers (2004)

Identifying the staff development needs of individuals involved in nursing and midwifery education: NHSE Staff Development Project (with B Goodman, Mary Watkins, Dawn Jackson, Jill MacLeod Clark, Sue Latter, K Ross, and Elizabeth Rosser), School of Health and Human Sciences Papers (2003)