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Personal profile


Dr Northam brings over 30 years of clinical experience to her research and teaching practice. Holly has a strong social justice focus that is underpinned by her professional identity as a nurse and midwife. Her PhD study, ’Hope for a peaceful death and organ donation’ identified that more must be done to alleviate suffering caused by communication failures in healthcare. Holly played an instrumental role in setting up and running the ACT Organ and Tissue Donation Service and has been recognised for her expertise in this specialisation.

Holly’s research and teaching approaches are framed using the lens of hope and restorative practice to identify and support vulnerable people in health settings. Holly works with healthcare consumers, vulnerable communities, professionals and academics that are alert to recognising and responding to healthcare inequity. Holly is honoured to work with the ACT Restorative Practice Community, part of an International Learning Community of Restorative Practice. Holly is an active advocate working in leadership roles on several NGOs that seek to address healthcare inequity and elevate the voices of vulnerable people.

Areas of Teaching

Holly is passionate about ensuring that healthcare professionals are supported by excellence in education to enable a flourishing community.

HDR Completions: 

Dr Jane Frost (2017). First student to graduate with a Professional Doctorate in Australia, ‘Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners and Patient Enablement’

  • HDR supervision, Postgraduate critical care nursing courses
  • Undergraduate health degree courses- including Contexts of Healthcare (Social Determinants of Health); Indigenous Health: Contemporary Issues; and Ethics and Law for Health Professionals; and units across the Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery degree programs.



Recognition on the Digital ACT Women’s Honour Roll. http://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/women/act-womens-honour-roll/2008 


Donor Families Australia - Award ‘in appreciation for outstanding organ donation awareness’.


University of Canberra Nurses Society - Special Commendation, Nursing and Midwifery Awards


ACT Chief Minister’s Awards for Organ Donation Awareness - The Ben Wiseman Award for Healthcare


ACT Chief Nurse - ACT Health Certificate of Appreciation ‘a true champion in times of enormous challenge’


ACT Health: Quality Improvement Programme Award, ‘The Clinical Trigger’


Australian National University Medical School - Award for significant contribution to teaching during the 2008 academic year


ANU & the Canberra Hospital Grand Rounds & Clinical Advances Program: Award: Best Grand Rounds of the Year


Australian of the Year - Finalist, Local Hero Award



Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship ($~22,000)

‘The introduction of ethical guidelines and information about the benefits of organ donation after cardiac death’—UK, Spain and the USA. https://www.churchilltrust.com.au/fellows/detail/3012/holly+northam


ACT Government - Commissioner of Public Administration Award


The Canberra Hospital - Employee Award for ‘the establishment of a ‘quiet room’ for families in the Intensive Care Unit’



Australian College of Critical Care Nurses  - NSW Branch Scholarship ($1,000)


ACT Health - Scholarship Master in Critical Care Nursing Course


ACT Health - Scholarship Postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Course

Research interests

  • Communication
  • End of life care in acute and home healthcare settings
  • Organ and tissue donation and transplantation
  • Donor Recipient communication
  • Resiliency
  • Enablement of children/adolescents with chronic disease
  • Patient and family experiences of healthcare
  • Health Justice approaches to ‘closing the gap’ on inequitable health outcomes
  • Restorative practice in healthcare
  • Decolonising approaches
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Cultural safety
  • Ethical healthcare
  • ‘Whanau Ora’ (Family and person centred care)

Related Links

2018 - Research into the use of restorative practice to close the healthcare gap for Aboriginal Peoples

2018 - Recognition on the Digital ACT Women’s Honour Roll

2008 - Australian of the Year - Finalist, Local Hero Award

2006 - Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship ($~22,000) - ‘The introduction of ethical guidelines and information about the benefits of organ donation after cardiac death’—UK, Spain and the USA.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Nursing


Master, Nursing


External positions

Graduate Diploma in Critical Care Nursing


Midwifery Certificate , Gosford District Hospital


General Certificate of Nursing , General Certificate of Nursing


AHPRA Registered Nurse

AHPRA Registered Midwife, NMW 1374563

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Primary Health Care Medicine & Life Sciences
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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2013 2018

Tissue Donors
Social Adjustment
Tissue and Organ Procurement
Organ Transplantation

A novel approach to studying co-evolution of understanding and research: Family bereavement and the potential for organ donation as a case study

Dicks, S. G., Ranse, K., Northam, H. L., van Haren, F. M. P. & Boer, D. P. 1 Jan 2018 In : Health Psychology Open. 5, 1, p. 1-18 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Tissue and Organ Procurement
Research Personnel
Longitudinal Studies

Using the lens of enablement to explore patients' experiences of Nurse Practitioner care in the Primary Health Care setting

Frost, J., Currie, M. J., Cruickshank, M. & Northam, H. Apr 2018 In : Collegian. 25, 2, p. 193-199 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nurse Practitioners
Primary Health Care
Referral and Consultation
Choice Behavior

The Experience of Enablement Within Nurse Practitioner Care: A Conceptual Framework

Frost, J. S., Currie, M. J., Northam, H. L. & Cruickshank, M. 1 May 2017 In : Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 13, 5, p. 360-367 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nurse Practitioners
Referral and Consultation
Self Efficacy
Primary Health Care

Viewing Nurse Practitioners' Perceptions of Patient Care Through the Lens of Enablement

Frost, J. S., Currie, M. J., Cruickshank, M. & Northam, H. L. 2017 In : Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 13, 8, p. 570-576

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nurse Practitioners
Patient Care
Primary Health Care
Health Services Research