Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Jacinta Johnson

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
04 Jun 2024

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$32,500 p.a. (2024 rates) available to domestic applicants only

About this project

Drive collaborative prescribing practice in Australian hospitals

If you are motivated to advance your career in the pharmacy profession and concerned about improving medication safety, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD with community impact within the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC), in partnership with SA Pharmacy, MetroSouth Health, and the University of Queensland.

Hospital medication prescribing processes currently pose significant risks to patients. Around 60–80% of doctor-conducted medication histories contain errors, whereas pharmacist-conducted histories exhibit 3.5 times fewer errors. As medication histories underpin inpatient orders, errors persist throughout hospital stays and beyond discharge.

Our project seeks to evaluate a collaborative prescribing model which could enhance medication use and safety. This approach involves pharmacists obtaining, verifying, and documenting medication histories, forming a foundation for collaborative medication charting with doctors and patients. 

Throughout admission, pharmacists will join ward rounds and chart medication as agreed with the medical team. This joint effort will also facilitate deprescribing, crucial for mitigating inappropriate prescribing and adverse events in older patients. To bridge the gap between patient preferences and experiences, pharmacists will discuss goals and options with patients or their carers before prescribing. 

Shifting to a proactive model of care, where pharmacists and doctors work side-by-side at the point of prescribing, has been shown to reduce medication error rates, length of stay in hospital and associated costs. However, it is not yet standard practice across Australia.

A stepped-wedge, multicentre, cluster-randomised controlled trial will determine the model's effectiveness in reducing adverse medication events compared to standard care. Time-and-motion direct observation will gauge the impact on workflow, efficacy results and work data will inform a cost-consequence analysis, and patient-reported outcomes barriers/enablers to electronic partnered charting will also be investigated.

You will be based within the QUMPRC, which is a consumer-driven, data-informed research centre, known for conducting research studies and interventions that are effective in improving the use of medicines and improving patient lives. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will carry out data collection and project work at SA Health hospital(s). You will work with clinicians at these sites, including doctors and pharmacists, to collect and analyse data for the project. Occasional short trips to Queensland may be required (funded by the project).

You will also work with clinicians and consumers at other SA Health sites to design and implement elements of the research project. 

We will guide you in publishing academic outputs and presenting at national and international conferences. These activities will help hone your communication and networking skills. 

Upon graduation, you will be equipped with in-demand skills and abilities in an important field of research. 

Where you’ll be based

You will be based within the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre which specialises in improving use of medicines.

Research within the Centre ranges from large-scale data analysis to the translation of evidence into policy and practice.

We work with consumers, health professionals and organisations, ensuring the advanced technologies and methods developed within the centre, find their way into policy and practice to improve patient lives.

Supervisory team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $32,500 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders.  Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $50,291 per annum (2024 rate maximum RTP rate). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included.  For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:
  • AHPRA registered pharmacist with experience practising as a clinical pharmacist within SA Health or QLD Health.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, make decisions and work collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team.

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. 

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our City West campus in the heart of Adelaide. 

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Tuesday, 4  June, 2024.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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