Doctoral Programme Nursing Science
The Maastricht - Graz - Bern Doctoral Programme Nursing Science is a joint doctoral programme which began in 2000. This doctoral programme provides nurses with a structure to prepare a dissertation. It enables nurses with a master degree to become a Scholar in Nursing Science.
Research is performed in the research fields of the departments which are offering the programme. Therefore, all projects focus on health problems from a nursing perspective and contribute to nursing knowledge via the use of clinical research methodologies.
The thesis is usually a compilation of articles published in and / or submitted to international scientific journals. A doctoral thesis is equivalent to approximately five (Maastricht) or four (Graz) articles.
Students will finish their programme either at the University of Maastricht or at the Medical University of Graz. In Maastricht, the title is «Doctor aan de Universiteit Maastricht (PhD)». In Graz the title is «doctor rerum curae», which is read as «Doctor of Nursing Science».
The programme consists of four meetings per year, which alternate between Graz, Bern and Maastricht. During these meetings, the students participate in lectures focusing on methodological issues in qualitative and quantitative research. The students discuss theoretical, methodological and practical problems that they are encountering in the course of their doctoral projects. They work collaboratively in workshops on topics which are relevant to their PhD. They also further their knowledge regarding scientific writing and the revision process in group sessions. The doctoral students present their research findings at national and international conferences. The language in the programme is English.
Students from Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany as well as other European countries, are currently participating in this doctoral programme. Due to its international structure, this doctoral programme in Nursing Science has, since its inception, facilitated international networking.
Are you interested in joining the programme? Please contact a professor at one of the cooperating universities:
- Prof. Dr. Sabine Hahn
- Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruud Halfens
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christa Lohrmann
- Prof. Dr. Sandra Zwakhalen
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Next European Doctoral Conference in Nursing Science
Niklaus Bernet, MScN, RN
Niklaus Bernet has several years of practical experience in the field of acute and long-term care. He currently works as a research associate at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, and is co-project leader in international and national research projects in the field of quality of care. Furthermore, he is a PhD student at the Maastricht University, in the Netherlands.
In his PhD thesis, he investigates the topic of the risk adjustment of nursing quality indicators. His research focuses upon the method of risk adjustment as well as on the presentation and transfer of the risk-adjusted results. The aim of his research is to enable fair national and international comparisons among institutions, as well as to create a trustworthy basis for learning through benchmarking. This will improve discussion, comparison and learning from the results at both the institutional and at the scientific level.
If you have any questions regarding his PhD programme, please contact Niklaus by mail.
Franziska Geese, MScN, Psycho-oncological Counsellor (SGPO), RN
Franziska has several years of working experience in nursing. As an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), she cared for patients with prostate cancer and their partners. Franziska is currently employed as a Research Associate at the Academic-Practice-Partnership of the Bern University of Applied Sciences and University Hospital Bern. Furthermore, she is a PhD-student at the Maastricht University, in the Netherlands.
Her PhD-thesis aims to examine the current state of the APN workforce in cancer care in all parts of Switzerland (German, French, Italian) and their future utilization within the Health Care System.
If you have any questions regarding the PhD programme please contact Franziska by mail.
Christoph Golz, MScN, RN
Christoph is research associate at the Bern University of Applied Sciences and PhD student in Nursing Science at the Maastricht University, the Netherlands
The topic of his PhD project is technostress among healthcare professionals, and its implications for healthcare professionals’ digital competences. The aim of his project is to determine the influence of healthcare information technology on the daily work of healthcare professionals, along with any accompanying stress reactions. Furthermore, his project aims to identify the respective needs of health professionals in order to promote successful interaction with technology.
If you have any questions regarding the PhD programme please contact Christoph by mail.
Silvia Thomann, MScN, RN
Silvia is a research associate at Bern University of Applied Sciences and a PhD student at the School CAPHRI Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
The topic of her PhD thesis is restraint usage in the acute care hospital setting. She aims to investigate the prevalence of restraint usage along with its associated factors, as well as the decision-making, documentation, and evaluation processes regarding this topic. Through knowledge generation and knowledge-transfer, the conscious rather than the routine use of restraints in acute care hospitals, should be promoted.
If you have any questions regarding the PhD programme please contact Silvia by mail.
Profiles of current external Swiss PhD students and their projects
Caroline Gurtner, MScN, RN
Caroline Gurtner has several years of experience in the field of psychiatric care as well as in health and nursing science. She currently works for the NGO Pro Mente Sana Switzerland as a member of the board and head of the department “Recovery and Social Politics”. Furthermore, Caroline is affiliated to the Bern University of Applied Sciences, where she is working as an external lecturer. In 2018, Caroline started as a PhD student at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands.
The topic of her PhD thesis is “shared decision making in the psychiatric inpatient setting”. The aim of this PhD project is to better understand the transferability of the concept of shared decision making into clinical psychiatric practice. Therefore, she explores, how health care professionals interact with the patients regarding health-related decisions during regular meetings. With a case study research, she further explores, how patients experience their level of involvement in decision making. Thus, the results will provide recommendations to improve patient involvement in the psychiatric inpatient setting.
If you have any questions regarding the PhD programme, please contact Caroline by mail: email@example.com
Baptiste Lucien, MScN, RN
Baptiste is Assistant UAS at the Geneva University of Applied Sciences and PhD student at the School CAPHRI Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
The topic of his PhD project is violence towards formal (nurses, aids…) and informal caregivers of care-dependent people living at home. The aim of his project is to determine the prevalence and the consequences of violence towards formal and informal caregivers of care-dependent people living at home in the French part of Switzerland. Furthermore, his project aims to identify the perceptions of violence and the perception of intervention skills for managing violence.
If you have any questions regarding his PhD programme, please contact Baptiste by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Eissler, MSC Berufsbildung, RN, RM
Andrea Eissler has many years of practical experience in neonatal and pediatric intensive care, as a midwife on the prenatal ward, in the birthing room and in the postpartum bed, and as a lactation consultant.
The topic of her PhD is Active caregiver involvement in pain reducing measures during painful interventions in nonverbal patients. The aim of the topic is to investigate the active involvement of informal caregivers in pain-reducing measures in painful interventions of their infant or adult patients, non able to self-report. One aspect of the investigation is whether the involvement is profitable for both the patients and the informal caregivers. Moreover, what specific involvement informal caregivers desire. Additionally, it will be elicited how pain management is implemented by nurses or whether they actively involve informal caregivers.
If you have any questions regarding her PhD programme, please contact Andrea by mail.
Profiles of former PhD students and their projects at Bern University of Applied Sciences
Dr. Karin Anne Peter PhD, RN
Karin Anne Peter is a lecturer in the area of health care at the Bern University of Applied Sciences and finished her Phd at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands in 2020.
The topic of her Phd thesis was ‘Work-related stress among health professionals working in Swiss hospitals, nursing homes and home care organisations: an analysis of stressors, stress reactions and long-term consequences of stress at work among Swiss health professionals’. Her thesis forms part of the STRAIN project, ‘work-related stress among health professionals in Switzerland’, in which she is also project leader. The STRAIN project is one of the largest current research projects in the Swiss health care system, including over 160 participating organisations with the aim of improving long term working conditions through a standardised intervention with health professional leaders.
The thesis can be downloaded here.
Dr. Friederike J.S. Thilo PhD, RN
Friederike Thilo is a lecturer and head of the innovation field Technology and Health at Bern University of Applied Sciences. She is an experienced nurse and worked at the Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois (CHUV) for almost 10 years.
Friederike Thilo finished her PhD in Health and Nursing Sciences at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, in January 2020. The title of her doctoral thesis is ‘Ageing in place safely: Lessons learnt from a multi-perspective immersion into the use and non-use of Personal Safety Alerting Devices’ and addressed the following: Solutions designed to support safe ageing in place are Personal Safety Alerting Devices (PSADs) which can provide rapid assistance after a fall. Unfortunately, older persons are still reluctant to use PSADs. This PhD thesis revealed that the use of a PSAD in daily life of older persons is a complex decision-making process involving the perception of its necessity, which is interwoven with an individual’s ageing, his or her self-perception and the meaning attributed to the device.bInformed decision making requires an iterative and time-intensive negotiation process. This process predominantly involves interaction between older persons, their relatives and community nurses. Nurses and General Practitioners should increase their awareness regarding relevant technology needs and possibilities, to optimize the support of older persons and their relatives with PSAD use, when ageing in place.
The thesis can be downloaded here.
European Doctoral Conference in Nursing Science EDCNS
The European Doctoral Conference in Nursing Science (EDCNS) is an international nursing conference for PhD students. The conference is organised alternately by PhD students from Maastricht University and the Medical University of Graz, in cooperation with the Bern University of Applied Sciences. The conference provides the opportunity for PhD students to:
- meet and build contacts with colleagues all over Europe
- give a presentation about a part of their thesis
- share experiences and information in the area of nursing research
- learn what is currently happening in nursing science in Europe
- meet the profs!
Next European Doctoral Conference in Nursing Science
Services of Health Services Research
NL-6200 Maastricht MD
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruud Halfens
T +31 43 3881572
Institute of Nursing Science
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christa Lohrmann
T +43 316 385-72064