Describing the experiences of social workers in a tertiary emergency department

Grant ID: EMSS-226R24-2015

Project Summary

The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Emergency and Trauma Centre is one of the largest emergency departments in Australia. It is the only one that includes an on-site team of social worker 24/7. This research project is the first conducted to explain the evolution of this service, its implications for the social work team, and for the department more broadly. This study involves a qualitative analysis of the experiences of this social work team, based on information provided during interviews. This is the proposed first phase of research, which will inform future research including measures such as compassion fatigue and burnout among this group.


Outcomes pending publication of research data. However, prior to this research project, there was limited understanding by senior management of how a 24/7 social work service operates in the emergency department. By describing the demands placed on a 24/7 service, this research has helped to inform the RBWH as well as other sites across Australia and in Canada that are considering adopting the same level of service.

Leveraged Funds

- In kind: $41,987.50


Markwell A., "Describing the experiences of social workers in a tertiary emergency department", ACEM ASM. Nov 2017. (Oral presentation)



Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Alexandra Markwell

Co Investigators:
Ms Tegwen Howell
A/Prof Carol Windsor

Associate Investigators:
A/Prof Anthony Bell
A/Prof Kevin Chu
Ms Angela O'Malia


Collaborating Institutions


  • EMF media release: 2017

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