Associate Professor Venerina Johnston

Assoc Professor in Physiotherapy

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
v.johnston@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 52124

Overview

Dr Venerina Johnston is a researcher and Associate Professor in Physiotherapy at The University of Queensland. She has qualifications in physiotherapy, occupational health and safety and work disability prevention. Her research interests are in the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal problems and the prevention of work disability following a musculoskeletal injury. Venerina has a rich background in occupational rehabilitation and injury management from the perspective of the insurer, provider and employer.

Research Interests

  • Primary prevention of musculoskeleletal injuries in the workplace
    There is a debate over the source of neck pain in office workers. This debate is focused on two main areas (1) what is the source of pain and (2) can asymptomatic and symptomatic workers be differentiated on any physical measures? This research project is focused on understanding the source of pain to help target interventions for the prevention of neck pain in office workers.
  • Upskilling supervisors to facilitate a return to work after a musculoskeletal and mental disorder
    It is recognised that line supervisors play a pivotal role in the return-to-work process. However, the specific knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary for supervisors to assist workers return to work after a compensable injury or illness have not been identified in the Australian setting. This project identified the needs of supervisors who are required to support staff returning to work after a mental health disorder or musculoskeletal injury. The results have provided the evidence base for the development of a training program specific to the Australian culture and compensation environment. A training program is currently undergoing pilot testing. The long-term benefits of such a training program will be the prevention of work disability and a reduction in the duration and costs associated with compensable injuries. Please contact me if your organisation is interested in participating or if you would like to undertake a PhD to complete this project.
  • Prevention of neck problems in office workers
    Various interventions have been trialled to address painful neck disorders in office workers. As the workplace is becoming the arena for many health initiatives, my research is exploring interventions which can be implemented at the workplace and the impact on presenteeism and absenteeism of these interventions. We are currently testing the impact of an exercise plus ergonomic intervention to impact productivity and neck pain in office workers in Brisbane. Please contact me if your organisation is interested in participating.
  • Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries due to patient handling in health care workers
    The prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries due to people handling amongst health care workers is very high. Current evidence indicates that the risk management approach is the best way to prevent injuries. My research is developing online tools to assist students learn risk management approach to injury prevention.
  • Self-managing return to work following a compensbile musculoskeletal injury
    This study explores whether adding self-management training to vocational rehabilitation had an impact on work readiness, health efficacy and pain. We developed and tested a new model for the occupational rehabilitation of workers with chronic compensated musculoskeletal disorders by adding self-management training to the usual care. Self-management programs have been shown to be effective for chronic conditions in particular diabetes, heart disease, asthma and arthritis, but is new in the field of work disability. This project was funded by an Australian Research Council linkage grant.

Qualifications

  • Diploma in Workplace Disability Prevention, Université de Sherbrooke
  • Graduate Certificate in Management, University of Southern Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Line supervisors are important in the return to work of injured workers. Based on identified competencies required by supervisors to better support workers returning to work after an injury, a training program will be developed and implemented in high risk industries. It is believed that this training will impact supervisor’s knowledge, confidence and behaviours related to return to work and have downstream impact on the number and duration of workers compensation injuries.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Johnston, Venerina, Straker, Leon and Mackey, Martin (2015). Musculoskeletal health in the workplace. In Gwendolen Jull, Ann Moore, Deborah Falla, Jeremy Lewis, Chris McCarthy and Michele Sterling (Ed.), Grieve's modern musculoskeletal physiotherapy 4th ed. (pp. 379-387) Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

  • Souvlis, T. and Johnston, V. (2004). Pain in the elderly. In Jennifer C. Nitz and Susan R. Hourigan (Ed.), Physiotherapy Practice in Residential Aged Care (pp. 307-331) Edinburgh: Butterworth Heinemann. doi:10.1016/B978-0-7506-8772-0.50018-X

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Joint Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Line supervisors are important in the return to work of injured workers. Based on identified competencies required by supervisors to better support workers returning to work after an injury, a training program will be developed and implemented in high risk industries. It is believed that this training will impact supervisor’s knowledge, confidence and behaviours related to return to work and have downstream impact on the number and duration of workers compensation injuries.