Sarah Wise joined CHERE from the Faculty of Health, UTS in 2019. She previously worked as a researcher at the Workplace Research Centre, University of Sydney and the Employment Research Institute, Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Sarah has managed and conducted numerous research and evaluation projects, in healthcare and the broader economy, for a range of government, union and industry partners. Her specialist expertise is the healthcare workforce and the organisation of healthcare work. Research interests include workloads, skill mix, skills development and teamwork, as well as the institutional and organisational barriers to healthcare reform. Sarah is experienced in a range of quantitative and qualitative social research methods including mixed methods research, observational time study, workplace and industry surveys, and focus groups. She has conducted hundreds of stakeholder, management, employee and consumer interviews. Sarah completed her PhD in 2018 through the Faculty of Health supported by the UTS Chancellor’s Research Scholarship. Her thesis clarified the ambiguous concept of ‘workforce flexibility’ by examining task shifting and sharing between doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners working in an Emergency Department.
Wise, S, Duffield, C, Fry, M & Roche, M 2017, 'Workforce flexibility - in defence of professional healthcare work.', Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 503-516.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Purpose The desirability of having a more flexible workforce is emphasised across many health systems yet this goal is as ambiguous as it is ubiquitous. In the absence of empirical studies in healthcare that have defined flexibility as an outcome, the purpose of this paper is to draw on classic management and sociological theory to reduce this ambiguity. Design/methodology/approach The paper uses the Weberian tool of "ideal types". Key workforce reforms are held against Atkinson's model of functional flexibility which aims to increase responsiveness and adaptability through multiskilling, autonomy and teams; and Taylorism which seeks stability and reduced costs through specialisation, fragmentation and management control. Findings Appeals to an amorphous goal of increasing workforce flexibility make an assumption that any reform will increase flexibility. However, this paper finds that the work of healthcare professionals already displays most of the essential features of functional flexibility but many widespread reforms are shifting healthcare work in a Taylorist direction. This contradiction is symptomatic of a failure to confront inevitable trade-offs in reform: between the benefits of specialisation and the costs of fragmentation; and between management control and professional autonomy. Originality/value The paper questions the conventional conception of "the problem" of workforce reform as primarily one of professional control over tasks. Holding reforms against the ideal types of Taylorism and functional flexibility is a simple, effective way the costs and benefits of workforce reform can be revealed.
Wise, S, Fry, M, Duffield, CM, Roche, MA & Buchanan, J 2015, 'Ratios and nurse staffing: The vexed case of emergency departments', Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 49-55.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Within Australia nursing unions are pursuing mandated nursepatient ratios tosafeguard patient outcomes and protect their members in healthcare systems where demandperpetually exceeds supply. Establishing ratios for an emergency department is more con-tentious than for hospital wards. The studys aim was to estimate average staffing levels, skillmix and patient presentations in all New South Wales (NSW) Emergency Departments (EDs).
Duffield, C, Baldwin, R, Roche, M & Wise, S 2014, 'Job enrichment: creating meaningful career development opportunities for nurses', Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 697-706.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Roche, MA, Duffield, CM, Wise, S, Baldwin, RJ, Fry, M & Solman, A 2013, 'Domains of practice and Advanced Practice Nursing in Australia', Nursing and Health Sciences, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 497-503.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A key component of workforce reform is the international growth in Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) roles. This study evaluated one APN role in Australia, the Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC). All 56 CNCs employed in a tertiary hospital in New South Wales took part in the study. Demographic and work activity data were collected by an online questionnaire. Face-to-face interviews included the administration of a 50-point tool to score the level of practice of each CNC against five domains.The domains of practice did not appear to have played a central role in the design of these CNC roles despite being defined in the industrial legislation and linked to a pay structure.There was widespread variability in the level of practice both within and between the CNC grades as well as significant differences in job content. Few CNCs managed to achieve a moderate level of practice across all five domains. The findings suggest that the distinctive features of the CNC roles as articulated in the domains of practice are often not realized in practice.
Valsecchi, R, Wise, S, Mueller, F & Smith, C 2012, 'The practice of teamwork in health industry call centres', EMPLOYEE RELATIONS, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 288-305.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Purpose – To explore whether ward management is an aspiration for junior nurses and midwives in the National Health Service in Scotland (NHSS) in the context of service redesign that is expanding career options in clinical practice. Design/methodology/approach – The findings are drawn from research conducted in a large acute NHSS Trust. The fieldwork involved face-to-face interviews with 64 nurses and midwives and 1,084 survey returns (29 per cent response rate). Logistic regression was used to predict the characteristics of those who wanted to move into their line manager's role. Findings – Moving into their line manager's job was a career aspiration for only 10 per cent of nurses and midwives and current managers reported there were already difficulties recruiting to senior posts. Those who wanted vertical progression preferred the clinical specialist/advanced practitioner route. By comparison, the ward manager (charge nurse) role was perceived to be very unattractive because of: too little patient contact; the stress involved in meeting the workload demands of multiple roles; and poor pay and rewards. Research limitations/implications – The research and policy review covers the devolved NHSS though similar trends have been noted elsewhere in the UK and internationally. The paper is of broader interest to those interested in the impact of managerial responsibility on healthcare professionals. Practical implications – The paper highlights the need for reform in the ward leadership role since it is pivotal in the operation of hospital services. Originality/value – Previous research has examined the role of nurses in managing healthcare services. The paper extends this retrospective work by exploring the perceptions and career intentions of the nurses and midwives serving under the current generation of nurse managers. © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Wise, S, Smith, C, Valsecchi, R, Mueller, F & Gabe, J 2007, 'Controlling working time in the ward and on the line', Employee Relations, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 352-366.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Purpose - The purpose of this article is to assess whether tele-nursing in Scotland (NHS24), when compared with traditional face-to-face nursing, facilitates greater employee control over working time and therefore a potentially better work-life balance. Design/methodology/approach - The article draws on evidence from two independent research projects; a survey of 64 ward nurses and midwives, which involved face-to-face interviews; and a field study of tele-nursing in a large site in Scotland, using interviews and observations of 15 nurse advisors or tele-nurses. Findings - Three elements of work organisation are central in shaping nurses' working hours and their control over the balance between their work and their home life: the management of working hours; the degree of mutual dependency of nurses within teams; and the nature of patient care. Research limitations/implications - The two pieces of research reported offer a strong basis for comparative study. However, the two projects were designed independently, though research questions overlapped and one researcher conducted the field work in both settings; there is an imbalance in the number of interviews conducted in each setting; and the nurse advisor interviewees are of the same clinical grade, whereas a variety of grades and clinical areas are represented among the hospital nurse interviewees. Originality/value - This is the first study of work-life balance amongst tele-nurses. The research demonstrates that call centre work has rationalised, depersonalised and yet enabled more "control" by nurses over their work-life balance, while paradoxically offering less autonomy in their task environment. In conventional work settings professional values make it difficult for nurses to disengage from the workplace. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Purpose – To examine the factors which influence the implementation of employees' right to time off for dependants protected by the Employment Relations Act 1999. Design/methodology/approach – The responses of two organisations in the same corporate group with identical policy provision are examined. Formal provision in the two companies was broadly similar providing an opportunity to examine how centrally developed, statutorybased policy operates in different organisational contexts. Using qualitative reports from line managers and human resource managers the interaction and tensions between formal policy and informal, discretionary practice are examined. Findings – Line manager attitudes to discretionary decision making and other company policies, especially flexitime, produced very different outcomes for employees highlighting a continuing challenge for governments and organisations: Is it more important to be consistent in implementation or responsive to individual circumstances? Research limitations/implications – The paper uses data from only two organisations, although it complements national research on the usage rates of parents' statutory rights to leave. Practical implications – Factors which can influence and detract from the effective implementation of statutorybased employment rights are highlighted. Originality/value – In focusing on parent's right to time off for dependant emergency an important element of the worklife balance field is examined. © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Policies which help employees balance their work and non-work priorities have become increasingly popular among UK employers in recent years. Along with a legislative imperative for family leave-related policies, employers are being encouraged to introduce work-life policies and make them more inclusive in order to enhance their business performance. This paper looks at how four financial services organisations have approached the work-life balance agenda and examines the fit between the organisational intentions for work-life policy and actual outcomes for both organisations and employees. Culture played a large part in determining the experience of policies but so did resources. What managers were being asked to achieve in the business was often incompatible with formal work-life policies. Despite the rhetoric, work-life balance was still viewed as a tool for, and was used by female parents, limiting its potential to achieve the promoted business benefits. © 2003, MCB UP Limited
Ridley-Ellis, D & Wise, S 2006, 'Women in education and training for the Scottish wood chain', 9th World Conference on Timber Engineering 2006, WCTE 2006, pp. 2576-2579.
The paper introduces a new project at Napier University in Edinburgh into the issues surrounding entry, progression and retention of female students for courses relating to the growing, processing and utilisation of timber for use in the built environment. Major issues surrounding the recruitment and retention of women in employment and education in the Scottish forest and timber industries are highlighted. The paper concludes by outlining some recommendations on how best to proactively tackle gender segregation in careers choice initiatives and course promotion to maximise the pool of potential future students.