PhD Scholarship Studying Change and Implementation Evaluating A Quality of Care System in Acute Care Settings

The University of Queensland, Australia is inviting excellent students to apply for a PhD position in psychology. The funds for this fellowship are available for two years. Applications should be sent before April 08, 2019.

The University of Queensland Business School is independently ranked as one of the top business schools in Australia and among the leading institutions worldwide. The Business School's mission is to cultivate courageous thinkers who empower future leaders to positively transform business and society. The Business School is renowned for cutting-edge research, outstanding academic staff, the depth of educational programs and close links with leading global organisations.

We are looking for a full-time PhD candidate interested in joining our project team to examine the change processes involved in the implementation and adoption of a new patient admission system for acute care at multiple hospitals based in Tasmania and other states.

Health care services have been undergoing significant organisational and practice change to incorporate technological advancements, with the aim of reducing costs, improving quality, increasing efficiency and effectiveness and raising patient or client satisfaction. The anticipated benefits of such technology-driven disruptive change can be undermined by poor implementation and change management, stakeholder resistance to change and limited understanding of the impact of such implementation. There is limited research on the implementation of technology driven health system transformations and how existing organisational processes and practices adapt, change and evolve. This research project provides an opportunity to study the implementation and change processes of a large-scale health system innovation from design through to completion.

The prevalence of cognitive impairment such as dementia in hospitalised older people is approximately 20-30%, with less than half having a diagnosis of dementia documented after admission to hospital. Current nursing assessments of patients at admission to hospital are not standardised. An abundance of unstructured forms contributes to poor compliance and missed diagnoses. The role of nurses is critical to the identification of people with cognitive impairment, delivery of best care, and prevention of adverse outcomes. Despite the value of a comprehensive geriatric assessment of the patient on admission to an acute care setting, compliance around the completion of the nursing documentation of the patient assessment is often sub-optimal. This project evaluates quality care in acute care settings through the translation of existing development work (interRAI Acute Care system) and research evidence. This new admission system will be implemented to establish a whole of hospital nursing assessment system for admission into acute care across eight hospitals. The project will focus on its implementation in clinical care to improve identification, assessment and care planning for people with cognitive impairment.

As part of the overall project, the successful candidate will examine the implementation of the new system at multiple hospitals within Australia, from the research discipline of organization and management studies. This implementation will require significant change to organizational and professional practices. A longitudinal study using mixed methods (i.e., interviews, surveys, observations) is required to explore the processes and dynamics of change involved in the implementation and adoption of the new system. It is envisaged that data will be collected at multiple time points (i.e., planning, execution, and post execution) during the implementation process and will entail at least three site visits (3-5 days) to each participating hospital. Therefore, travel to the hospital sites will be essential for this project.

A PhD represents a commitment to acquiring new skills, developing critical thinking, and learning to communicate across different disciplines. The end goal of this training period is to bring all these skills together to become an independent researcher.

Applicants must have a degree or background in Business, Organisational Psychology or Behavioural Science. Australian and International applicants are able to apply. The candidate is also required to meet the minimum requirements of admission to a Research Higher Degree at UQ. The candidate must have excellent communication skills in terms of both written and spoken English language expression; the ability to meet deadlines and manage competing priorities; the ability to build and maintain collaborative working relationships and the ability to work in a team environment.

The successful applicant is expected to either obtain a UQ Graduate School Scholarship or equivalent living allowance scholarship from the University of Queensland's Graduate School. For information on scholarships, see the Grad School’s Scholarships page.

Candidates who are successful in obtaining an UQGSS or equivalent can be offered a minimum $5,000 top-up per annum, guaranteed for the first two years of the PhD enrolment contingent on satisfactory performance via completion of PhD milestones 1 and 2. Further top-ups (for example in year 3) are contingent on availability of funding within the research group.

The successful applicant will receive funds to attend at least one national/international conference, at which she/he is presenting their work.The successful applicant will also be provided with funding for data collection and project costs (e.g., travel costs).

For further information, please contact Ms Joanna Kho (

Please visit the advertisement Studying change and implementation: Evaluating a quality of care system in acute care settings on the Grad School website to apply.


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