One Minute Biography: CRE in Newborn Medicine Research Nurse, Merilyn Bear


Merilyn Bear is the Research Nurse Coordinator for the Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) group. Merilyn uses her specialist skills to support children and their families through every step of the study pathway. While ensuring that our studies are delivered safely and effectively, Merilyn's priority is the care and comfort of our participants and their families, some of which Merilyn has known for over 15 years. 

Merilyn juggles the responsibilities of her role with welcoming new staff and being the go-to person for when anyone needs to know anything. We spent one minute with Merilyn. 

What is your background and how did you get started in research?

I think I was born a nurse and have been nursing since I qualified in 1979. I moved from general nursing to midwifery in 1981 and then onto neonatal nursing and loved it so much I stayed in this specialty. I had 15 years of clinical experience working in a few NICUs including Waikato Hospital in NZ, Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide & The Royal Children’s Neonatal Unit in Melbourne. In 2001 I had the opportunity to join a new research team being set up by Professor Terrie Inder who was investigating neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants using MRI technology and long term follow up assessments.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I have had the privilege watching different cohorts of infants develop, some from as early as 22 weeks gestation and mature into fabulous young people – the 1st cohort of I was involved in recruiting and following up are now turning 19 years old…..yes I am almost an antique! I have loved meeting the parents especially and hearing their journey of life through the NICU and beyond. I hope I have helped a few families find resources to assist with issues that crop up along the way. It really is a privilege to see the children from the nursery to becoming young adults and just how well they have done. And besides meeting fabulous families I have been so very lucky to work with wonderful empowering colleagues who share their knowledge and are here for improving children’s lives.


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