Associate Professor Rebecca Olson

Associate Professor

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
r.olson@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53493

Overview

Dr Rebecca E. Olson is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Program Director of the Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Queensland. As a cutting-edge translational qualitative researcher, Olson collaborates with health professionals, health professional educators and emotions scholars, bringing sociological insight to addressing complex healthcare challenges.

Research Interests

  • Emotions, Methodology, Healthcare and Education
    Emotions play a key role in how we experience and interact with the everyday world. Olson’s research works to understand emotions and their importance to palliative cancer care, higher education teaching and learning, including health professional education. An ongoing theme within her work, since 2011, has been studying and theorising a revised model of healthcare, interprofessional practice (IPP), and the professional socialisation that supports this revised model, interprofessional education (IPE). Her research in this area explores the intersubjective and emotional aspects of interprofessional teamwork using innovative video-based methods. She has a specific interest in using participatory qualitative methodologies like video-reflexive ethnography, to work collaboratively with health specialists and educators in ways that encourage greater insight into the minutiae of everyday healthcare and education practices. Recently, she has used these approaches to investigate: • Emotionally reflexive labour in palliative care and interprofessional practice • Socio-emotional aspects of cigarette smoking and lung cancer screening • Patient perspectives toward medicinal cannabis policy and it’s medical efficacy • Discourses of emotion and feedback in health professional education • Biopsychosocial approaches to physiotherapy and the work-readiness of graduate physiotherapists

Research Impacts

With over a decade of experience as a teaching and research academic, Olson has a strong track record of higher degree research supervision, innovative teaching and learning scholarship and high impact research published in a range of top academic outlets such as Social Science & Medicine, Medical Education and Qualitative Research.

With competitive funding from NHMRC, Arthritis Australia, and Cancer Australia, Olson uses innovative sociological theory in the study of interprofessional and informal palliative care, biopsychosocial approaches in physiotherapy, medicinal cannabis treatment and policy, and emotions and reflexivity in higher education teaching and learning. Her research innovatively applies participatory methods such as video reflexive methodology, to enable collaborative, theory-informed research that invites health professionals – established and pre-licensure – to reflect upon and refine their practice.

Olson is also a Co-Director of UQ’s SocioHealthLab where she leads and collaborates with scholars, students, practitioners and the community to do healthcare research differently: creative, theory-driven research that brings research users into the process of knowledge production and application. Across all domains of her research, Olson advocates for the democratisation of research practices through participatory and reflexive approaches to knowledge production that promote social justice in healthcare.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Cannabis’s status is shifting from illicit counter-culture emblem to prescription drug. It has been decriminalised in several countries and holds promise as a medical intervention. But, does its past status affect its current use?

    This PhD draws on semi-structured interviews conducted with patients with advanced cancer who have either declined or accepted invitations to participate in an NHMRC-supported randomised controlled trial (RCT) into medicinal cannabis. While the qualitative sub-study to the RCT examines the acceptability of the intervention and recruitment challenges, the successful candidate will have the flexibility to develop a project that aligns with their sociology interests and the aims of the broader study.

    Based at the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland, the candidate will be supervised by Dr Rebecca E. Olson and Senior Palliative Care Consultants Professor Janet Hardy (UQ, Mater) and Associate Professor Phillip Good (Mater, St. Vincent’s).

    What does the Scholarship provide?

    • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $27,094 (AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
    • Financial support (up to $15,000) will be available to the successful applicant for training, conference attendance, fieldwork, publishing and other research costs associated with the NHMRC-funded project, as approved by the School of Social Science and Dr Olson.

    International applicants are not eligible to apply for this scholarship.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Applicants from a range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Specifically, the project is suitable for candidates with an interest in theory and health, and a disciplinary foundation in Sociology, Social Science, Anthropology, Public Health and/or Criminology.

    The successful applicant should:

    • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following: (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, or (iii) a Research Masters degree;
    • ensure their 5-page research proposal is aligned with the NHMRC Project, Medicinal cannabinoids to relieve symptom burden in palliative care;
    • ensure their proposal is original, innovative and feasible;
    • have the ability to work as part of a broader research team;
    • have a commitment to the higher research degree culture of the School of Social Science, UQ;
    • be a full-time domestic candidate; and
    • be able to commence study in January 2021.

    Closing date extended! Applications now close 17 August 2020. For further information, please contact Dr Rebecca E. Olson: r.olson@uq.edu.au

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book

  • Roger Patulny, Alberto Bellocchi, Rebecca E. Olson, Sukhmani Khorana, Jordan McKenzie and Michelle Peterie eds. (2019). Emotions in late modernity. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781351133319

  • Olson, Rebecca E. (2015). Towards a sociology of cancer caregiving: time to feel. Surrey, United Kingdom: Ashgate.

Book Chapter

  • McKenzie, Jordan, Patulny, Roger, Olson, Rebecca E. and Bower, Marlee (2022). Mass emotional events: rethinking emotional contagions after COVID-19. Dystopian emotions: emotional landscapes and dark futures. (pp. 71-88) edited by Jordan McKenzie and Roger Patulny. Bristol, United Kingdom: Bristol University Press. doi: 10.2307/j.ctv24cnssh.9

  • Olson, Rebecca E. (2021). Health services and care: political and affective economies. Routledge international handbook of critical issues in health and illness. (pp. 59-70) New York, NY., United States of America: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9781003185215

  • Olson, Rebecca E., Mutch, Allyson, Fitzgerald, Lisa and Hickey, Sophie (2021). The social and cultural determinants of health. Culture, Diversity and Health in Australia: Towards Culturally Safe Health Care. (pp. 15-35) Taylor and Francis.

  • Patulny, Roger, Olson, Rebecca E., Khorana, Sukhmani, McKenzie, Jordan, Bellocchi, Alberto and Peterie, Michelle (2019). Conclusion: emotions in late modernity. Emotions in late modernity. (pp. 327-328) edited by Roger Patulny, Alberto Bellocchi, Rebecca E. Olson, Sukhmani Khorana, Jordan McKenzie and Michelle Peterie. Abingdon, Oxon & New York: Routledge.

  • Patulny, Roger and Olson, Rebecca E. (2019). Emotions in late modernity. Emotions in late modernity. (pp. 8-24) edited by Roger Patulny, Alberto Bellocchi, Rebecca E. Olson, Sukhmani Khorana, Jordan McKenzie and Michelle Peterie. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Patulny, Roger, Olson, Rebecca E., Khorana, Sukhmani, McKenzie, Jordan, Bellocchi, Alberto and Peterie, Michelle (2019). Introduction. Emotions in late modernity. (pp. 1-7) edited by Roger Patulny, Alberto Bellocchi, Rebecca E. Olson, Sukhmani Khorana, Jordan McKenzie and Michelle Peterie. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Olson, Rebecca E. and Dadich, Ann (2019). Power, (com)passion and trust in interprofessional healthcare. Emotions in late modernity. (pp. 267-281) edited by Roger Patulny, Alberto Bellocchi, Rebecca E. Olson, Sukhmani Khorana, Jordan McKenzie and Michelle Peterie. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Bellocchi, Alberto, Mills, Kathy, Olson, Rebecca, Patulny, Roger and Mckenzie, Jordan (2018). Emotion work at the frontline of STEM teaching. Critical issues and bold visions for science education. (pp. 247-264) edited by Lynn A. Bryan and Kenneth Tobin. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. doi: 10.1163/9789004389663_014

  • Olson, Rebecca E. (2016). Public health: Historical and contemporary principles and practices. Public Health: Local and Global Perspectives. (pp. 25-44) edited by Pranee Liamputtong. Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

  • Olson, Rebecca E. and Abeysinghe, Sudeepa (2014). None of the above: Uncertainty and diagnosis. Social Issues in Diagnosis: An Introduction for Students and Clinicians. (pp. 47-60) edited by Annemarie Goldstein Jutel and Kevin Dew. Baltimore, MD United States: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

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

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

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.

  • Cannabis’s status is shifting from illicit counter-culture emblem to prescription drug. It has been decriminalised in several countries and holds promise as a medical intervention. But, does its past status affect its current use?

    This PhD draws on semi-structured interviews conducted with patients with advanced cancer who have either declined or accepted invitations to participate in an NHMRC-supported randomised controlled trial (RCT) into medicinal cannabis. While the qualitative sub-study to the RCT examines the acceptability of the intervention and recruitment challenges, the successful candidate will have the flexibility to develop a project that aligns with their sociology interests and the aims of the broader study.

    Based at the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland, the candidate will be supervised by Dr Rebecca E. Olson and Senior Palliative Care Consultants Professor Janet Hardy (UQ, Mater) and Associate Professor Phillip Good (Mater, St. Vincent’s).

    What does the Scholarship provide?

    • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $27,094 (AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
    • Financial support (up to $15,000) will be available to the successful applicant for training, conference attendance, fieldwork, publishing and other research costs associated with the NHMRC-funded project, as approved by the School of Social Science and Dr Olson.

    International applicants are not eligible to apply for this scholarship.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Applicants from a range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Specifically, the project is suitable for candidates with an interest in theory and health, and a disciplinary foundation in Sociology, Social Science, Anthropology, Public Health and/or Criminology.

    The successful applicant should:

    • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following: (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, or (iii) a Research Masters degree;
    • ensure their 5-page research proposal is aligned with the NHMRC Project, Medicinal cannabinoids to relieve symptom burden in palliative care;
    • ensure their proposal is original, innovative and feasible;
    • have the ability to work as part of a broader research team;
    • have a commitment to the higher research degree culture of the School of Social Science, UQ;
    • be a full-time domestic candidate; and
    • be able to commence study in January 2021.

    Closing date extended! Applications now close 17 August 2020. For further information, please contact Dr Rebecca E. Olson: r.olson@uq.edu.au