Denise Harrison


Denise Harrison
Associate Professor

2007 Ph.D. Philosophy The University of Melbourne, Australia
2002 M.Sc. Nursing The University of Melbourne, Australia
1992 B.Sc. Nursing Deakin University, Geelong¸ Australia
1990 Midwifery Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
1988 Paediatric Intensive Care Nursing Course Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
1984 Diploma Nursing Geelong Hospital, Geelong, Australia

Room: RGN 1118 D
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 8693
Fax: 613-562-5443
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Prof Denise Harrison


  • Chair in Nursing Care of Children, Youth and Families 
    Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and University of Ottawa
  • Scientist
    CHEO Research Institute
  • Affiliate Investigator
    Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Clinical Epidemiology 
  • Honorary Research Fellow
    Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI)
    Royal Children's Hospital 
    Victoria, Australia
  • Honorary Senior Fellow
    The University of Melbourne
    Victoria, Australia
  • Be Sweet to Babies: Reduce your infant’s pain during newborn blood tests

Denise Harrison’s research career began as a single clinical question; “how can we reduce pain during painful procedures in sick babies?” This came after working for many years in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units where infants and children are exposed to a large number of painful procedures during their care. Seeking answers to this single question led to many more questions about pain management in our youngest patients up to school aged children and effective methods of translating knowledge into practice. Dr. Harrison has published more than 50 papers and delivered over 175 presentations focusing on pain management in infants and children.

Dr. Harrison’s program of research titled “Be Sweet to Babies”, focuses on pain management in neonates, infants and children. Studies include effectiveness and utilization of sucrose in diverse populations; Cochrane systematic reviews of pain management; pain prevalence and management in hospital and community settings, knowledge translation; use of social media for knowledge dissemination and ethics of conducting clinical trials in vulnerable populations. Dr. Harrison is a Co-Investigator for two multi-site Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) funded projects involving the psychological and behavioral outcomes of children admitted to the pediatric intensive care and the minimally effective dose of sucrose to reduce pain in neonates. Dr. Harrison is also involved in research into action initiatives, including the promotion of effective pain management strategies during pediatric immunizations and the development of educational videos on procedural pain management in infants.

See her social media sites: Reducing pain in babies: 

Twitter: @dharrisonCHEO

Research Interests

  • Efficacy, effectiveness, safety and utilization of sucrose in diverse neonatal, infant and child populations
  • Pain prevalence in diverse clinical settings
  • Knowledge translation

Selected Publications

  • Harrison D, Reszel J, Dagg B, Aubertin C, Bueno M, Dunn S, Fuller A, Harrold J, Larocque C, Nicolls S, Sampson M. (2017). Pain management during newborn screening – Using YouTube to disseminate effective pain management strategies. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. 31(2): 172-177.
  • Costa T, Rossato LM, Bueno M, Secco IL, Sposito NPB, Harrison D, de Freitas JS. (2017). Nurses’ knowledge and practices regarding pain management in newborns. Rev Esc Enferm
  • Chen S, Zhang Q, Xie RH, Wen SW, Harrison D. (2017). What is the best pain management during gastric tube insertion for infants aged 0-12 months: A systematic review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 34: 78-83.
  • Bueno M, Nishi E, Costa T, Freire L, Harrison D. (2017). Blood sampling in newborns: a systematic review of YouTube videos. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. 31(2): 160-165.
  • Harrison D, Larocque C, Bueno M, Stokes Y, Turner L, Hutton B, Stevens B. (2017). Sweet Solutions to Reduce Procedural Pain in Neonates: A Meta-Analysis. Pediatrics. 139 (1)
  • Harrison D, Wilding J, Bowman A, Fuller A, Nicholls SG, Pound CM, Reszel J, Sampson M. (2016). Using YouTube to disseminate effective vaccination pain treatment for babies. PLOS ONE. 11(10): e0164123.
  • Harrison D. (2016). NPCHN Cochrane Review Summary: Sweet tasting solutions for reduction of needle related procedural pain in children aged one to 16 years. Neonatal, Paediatric and Child Health Nursing.19(1): 24-25.
  • Harrison D, Reszel J, Bueno M, Sampson M, Shah V, Taddio A, Larocque C, Turner L. (2016). Breastfeeding for procedural pain in infants beyond the neonatal period (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 10: CD011248.
  • Chen S, Harrison D, Huang R, Zhang Q, Xie R, Wen S.(2016). Efficacy of sweet solutions in relieving pain caused by vaccination in infants aged 1 to 12 months: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Contemporary Pediatrics. 18(6): 534-540.
  • Harrison D, Bueno M, Reszel J. (2015). Prevention and management of pain and stress in the neonate. Research and Reports in Neonatalogy. 5: 9-16.
  • Feenstra B, Lawson ML, Harrison D, Boland L, Stacey D. (2015). Decision Coaching using the Ottawa Family Decision Guide with Parents and their Children: A Field Testing Study. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 15(5)
  • Crellin D, Harrison D, Santamaria N, Babl FE. (2015). Systematic Review of the FLACC scale for assessing pain in infants and children: is it reliable, valid and feasible for use?. PAIN. 156(11): 2132-2151.
  • Harrison D, Yamada J, Adams-Webber T, Ohlsson A, Beyene J, Stevens B. (2015). Sweet-tasting solutions for needle-related procedural pain in children aged one to 16 years. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 5: CD008408.
  • Russell K & Harrison D. (2015). Managing pain in early childhood immunisation. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand. 21(2): 22-24.
  • Harrison D, Reszel J, Barrowman N, Martelli B, Sharp D, Vaillancourt R. (2015). Be Sweet to Toddlers during needles: Pilot RCT of sucrose compared to placebo. Nursing Reports. 5(1): 19-21.
  • Harrison D, Reszel J, Wilding J, Abdulla K, Bueno M, Campbell-Yeo M, Harrold J, Nicholls S, Squires J, Stevens B. (2015). Neuroprotective Core Measure 5: Minimizing Stress and Pain: Neonatal pain management practices during heel lance and venipuncture in Ontario, Canada. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews. 15: 116-123.

Chapters in Books

  • Harrison D. Sweet Solutions for Pain Management. In Gebhart and Schmidt (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Pain, 2nd Edition. SpringerReference, 2014.
  • Harrison D, Anseloni V, Yamada J, Bueno M. Chapter 49: Sucrose and Sweet Taste. In McGrath, Stevens, Walker, Zempsky (Eds.) Oxford Textbook of Paediatric Pain, Oxford University Press, New York, 2014, p 508-516.
  • Rashotte J, Ellis J, Harrison D, Martelli B. Chapter 41, Pain Assessment and Management in Potter and Perry. Canadian Fundamentals of Nursing, 5th Edition, Elsevier Canada, Toronto, © 2014. p.1017-1049.
  • Denise Harrison. Part 17, Chapter 37: Treating Pain in Infants and Young Children: Current Practice, Recent Advances and Ongoing Debates. Pain 2012 – Refresher Courses: edited by Irene Tracey. ISAP Press, Seattle, © 2012. p.401-410.
  • Harrison D. (2002 - Re-printed 2012). Does a sweet tasting sugar solution reduce pain during blood tests in sick babies? p. 212-226. In Smith, M (Ed.) Traffic: Anthology 2002-2012. Melbourne: University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association


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