Dr. Julia Rehsmann


Dr. Julia Rehsmann Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

  • Contact hours Monday
  • Address Berner Fachhochschule
    School of Health Professions
    Fachbereich Pflege
    Murtenstrasse 10
    3008 Bern


  • Deputy Head of Innovation Field Psycho-Social Health

  • Senior researcher aR&D Nursing

  • Supervision of MSc Theses

  • End-of-life & Palliative Care

  • Gender

  • Organ transplants

  • Hospital research

  • Qualitative methods & ethnography

  • Collaborations with art & design


  • Julia Rehsmann is a medical anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Most recently, she has been working as a postdoctoral researcher on the interdisciplinary research project "Sterbesettings/Settings of Dying" (SNSF project 188869), a collaboration with the Bern University of the Arts and the Zurich University of the Arts, on inpatient palliative care in Switzerland. In this project, she was particularly interested in gender in health care and the negotiation of expertise in interdisciplinary and transprofessional settings. She has also worked on the collaborative research project "Pandemic Objects", which used (design-) ethnographic research methods to explore how the Covid-19 pandemic affected everyday work in a Swiss hospital and which was published as a special exhibition in the online museum of the Medical Collection Inselspital Bern.

    Julia wrote her PhD thesis on liver transplants and temporality in Germany, exploring the existential, technological and institutional dimensions of waiting in transplant medicine, and how this area of high-performance medicine is permeated by moral, political and intimate questions about 'lives worth saving'. She conducted research on this topic as part of the "Intimate Uncertainties" project (SNSF project 149368), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and was a visiting scholar at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva and a Doc.Mobility fellow (SNSF project 175223) at the University of Liverpool.

    Together with Sarah Hildebrand, Gerhild Perl, and Veronika Siegl, she published the book "Hope", a collaboration between social anthropology, photography, and literature.

    Her research interests include organ transplantation, liver disease, palliative care and the end of life, as well as gender, temporality, expertise and the hospital as more-than-medical space. She has conducted hospital ethnographies and fieldwork in transplant clinics, city hospitals and university hospitals in Germany and Switzerland, and is increasingly interested in interdisciplinary collaborations and participatory research projects.
  • 07/2023-ongoing Senior research fellow Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Health Professions, aR&D Nursing
  • 04/2022-04/2024 Senior research fellow Bern University, Institute of Social Anthropology
  • 01/2020-06/2023 Postdoc Bern University of Applied Sciences, Department of Health Professions, aR&D Nursing
  • 08/2018-07/2020 Assistant Bern University, Institute of Social Anthropology
  • 08/2019-10/2019 Visiting research fellow Brocher Foundation
  • 09/2017-07/2018 Visiting research student University of Liverpool
  • 02/2015-01/2018 Guest researcher University Hospital Leipzig
  • 08/2015-09/2015 Guest researcher Charité University Hospital Berlin
  • 02/2014-08/2017 Doctoral student in SNSF project "Intimate Uncertainties" (SNSF grant no. 149368) Bern University, Institute of Social Anthropology


  • Prec(ar)ious Live(r)s: An Anthropological Engagement with Failing Livers and the Promises of Transplant Medicine - applicant URL: https://www.brocher.ch/en/chercheurs/julia-rehsmann

  • The Liver's Time: Temporality and Precarity in Liver Transplant Medicine (SNSF Doc.Mobility grant no.175223) - applicant

  • Intimate Uncertainties: Precarious Life and Moral Economy Across European Borders (SNSF grant no.149368) - PhD research



  • Medical Anthropology Switzerland MAS

  • Swiss Anthropological Association SAA

  • European Association of Social Anthropologists EASA

  • Public Health Switzerland

  • Feministische Wissenschaft Schweiz, FemWiss

Language skills and intercultural knowledge

  • German - Native or bilingual proficiency
  • English - Full professional proficiency
  • Russian - Elementary proficiency
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Austria