Emeritus Professor Eileen Willis

Academic Status

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

place Sturt South Wing (S282)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Eileen Willis has a research interest in the area of Indigenous public health policy particularly access to health care and domestic water. She also has research expertise in the impact of health reform on working time. Research projects have included the impact of Excelcare on nurse's caring time, and enterprise bargaining and working time for health professionals. She has conducted research on the gynaecological cancer workforce, and the development of a community mental health professional's working time tool. She is currently engaged in two research projects examining the impact of rationalised care in the public hospital system and international nurses. Dr Willis has attracted funding from government and private organizations to do small scale in-depth qualitative studies on attitudes, values and aspirations to social policy of various population groups. She was the foundation editor of the international journal, Health Sociology Review, and currently serves on the editorial board. She is also on the foundation editorial board of Leadership and Policy Quarterly

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy, 2004. University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts, Department of Social Inquiry. Title: Accelerating control: An ethnographic account of the impact of micro-economic reform on the work of health professionals. The thesis argues that state control over the work of health professionals in public hospitals, particularly nurses and early career doctors, has increased following the introduction of casemix DRGs, the 1992-1998 and 1998-2003 Medicare agreements and the move to enterprise bargaining. The theoretical work of the neo-Marxist, Moshe Postone (1996) was used to illustrate the increased intensification of work and structural control, while Richard Fenn's (1995) thesis The Persistence of Purgatory (1995) was employed to support the cultural origins of intensified working time.

Master of Education by Research, 1985. University of New England, School of Education. Title: Servant of two masters: a study of the Aboriginal Health Worker Literacy program in the Southern Region of the Northern Territory. An evaluative study of an innovative training program where Remote Area Nurses were asked to integrate the teaching of literacy with clinical skills to Aboriginal Health Workers. Using the sociological framework of marginality (Stonequist 1937; Clark 1952) and the theoretical/methodological approach of grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss 1976) I employed qualitative methods of participant observation, interviews, back translation, and document analysis. This data was triangulated with a quantitative pre and post literacy test based on the WHO 'Road to Health' chart. Results indicated that RANs clinical workload resembled an Accident and Emergency department leaving them no time for primary health care activities, which remained marginal to their work.

Bachelor of Education (Sociology major). South Australian College of Advanced Education, (Underdale 1980) and Murdoch University (1978-9).

Certificate of Teaching. Graylands Teachers' College, Western Australia (1969)

Honours, awards and grants
  • 1996 - The Australian Award for Excellence in Publishing, Tertiary single book (wholly Australian) for Cheek J, Shoebridge J, Willis E and Zadoroznyi M, Society & Health: Social Theory for Health Workers, Addison Wesley, Longman, Melbourne.
  • 2012 - Office of Learning and Teaching Citation Award, Teaching sociology to health professional students
Research expertise
Ageing policy
Health services research
Indigenous health
Nursing
Public health and health services
Sociology
Research interests
Professor Eileen Willis has a broad research interest in the impact of social policies on the health of populations and health care systems. In the past decade this interest has led to research in two broad areas; work-place policy for health professionals and water sustainability. Her current research in the area of patient care and the health workforce has dealt with the future needs of the gynaecological workforce including patient views of workforce continuing education (Cancer Australia 2008), the Aboriginal patient journey in the acute hospital sector (SA Health Department 2008), and the experiences of international nurses in the public sector. She has published research papers on multidisciplinary care, the Indigenous patient journey, women's experiences of gynaecological cancer, working time for health professionals, and rationalised care in the public sector. Dr Willis has developed and published work on the use of qualitative methods in sensitive situations and on the role of supporting sciences in health professional curriculum. She is on the advisory committee of the national body of Ambulance Services; the Council for Ambulance Authorities.

Professor Eileen Willis has attracted over 2 million in research funds from the government and private sector. This research has tended towards complex collaborations between government departments and the private sector exhibiting her capacity to project manage.  
Teaching interests
I have a strong interest in the use of expressive phenomenological and critical approaches to the teaching of health to health professionals. The phenomenological approach to classroom teaching attempts to provide students with opportunities to immerse themselves in the lived experiences of populations and individuals who are ill and in need for care. The critical approach brings the political, social and cultural realities of professional practice into the classroom discussion and reflection.
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: Iindigenous health and health care reform (4)
Associate supervisor: Nursing and health care reform (4)
Completion
Principal supervisor: Nursing, health reform, Indigenous health (4)
Associate supervisor: Nursing, health reform, Indigenous health (6)
Publications
Expert for media contact
Aboriginal Issues
Immigration
Labour Studies
Nursing
Work
Health Services and Industrial Relations
Health professional working time
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Aboriginal Issues
  • Immigration
  • Labour Studies
  • Nursing
  • Work
Interests
  • Health Services and Industrial Relations
  • Health professional working time