Dr Irene Ikafa

Lecturer - School of Health

Irene Ikafa

Phone: +61 02 6773 5682

Email: iikafa@une.edu.au


I am a registered nurse and an academic with a strong mental health nursing background. I joined the University of New England in July 2016 after 8 years in the School of Health Professions at Murdoch University and 25 years of clinical experience in mental health nursing in Western Australia and Zambia.

I have progressive experience in various nursing positions as a clinician, team leader, clinical nurse, nurse manager, deputy director of nursing, clinical teacher and staff development nurse. I am passionate about teaching and learning with students about nursing in general, and mental health in particular and do this with commitment, compassion and care. My specific research interests include: communication, culture and health care practice, grief and loss, mental health, migration and acculturation, nurse education, and teaching and learning in health care practice. I am also committed to mental health promotion, migration issues, social justice, social inequalities and advocating for people without a voice, particularly those with mental illness.


PhD, MSc (Curtin), BSc (Curtin), RN

Teaching Areas

  • Applied psychology for nursing practice
  • Communication, culture and health
  • Contemporary nursing theories
  • Health promotion
  • Mental health  
  • Mental health promotion

Research Interests

  • Clinical confidence in mental health nursing
  • Clinical experiences of undergraduate nurses
  • Communication, culture and health care practice
  • Grief and loss
  • Mental health
  • Mental health promotion
  • Migration and acculturation
  • Nurse education
  • Teaching and learning in health care practice


Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) (2005 – present).

Further Information

Scholarship and Research

Changing worlds: Resettlement of African migrants in Australia and an evaluation of current support services.

Examining the effect of mental health clinical experience on clinical confidence of undergraduate students.

Examining of length of stay for older persons in acute and sub-acute settings.


Nominated for the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia (2010).

Nominated for the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia (2009).

Best Nurse All Round Award, Lusaka School of Nursing, Zambia (1990).