Associate Professor Venerina Johnston

Honorary Associate Professor

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Overview

Dr Venerina Johnston is a researcher and Associate Professor at The University of Queensland. She has qualifications in physiotherapy, occupational health and safety and work disability prevention. Her research is focused on improving work participation for those with compensable musculoskeletal injuries. Recently though, her research portfolio has diversified to include improving work participation for older workers and those with a chronic health condition (eg cancer survivor and osteoarthritis). Venerina has a rich background in occupational rehabilitation and injury management from the perspective of the insurer, provider and employer.

Research Interests

  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Prevention of musculoskeletal problems in office workers
    Various interventions have been trialled to address painful musculoskeletal disorders in office workers. As the workplace is becoming the arena for many health initiatives, my research explores interventions which can be implemented at the workplace and the impact on presenteeism and absenteeism of these interventions. Our work has demonstrated that the combination of exercise and best-practice ergonomics can positively impact productivity and neck pain in office workers.

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

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. Grieve's modern musculoskeletal physiotherapy. (pp. 379-387) edited by Gwendolen Jull, Ann Moore, Deborah Falla, Jeremy Lewis, Chris McCarthy and Michele Sterling. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

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

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

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

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.

  • 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.