School of Nursing


Deborah Rowe

Pathway to postgraduate studies

Deborah graduated with a Diploma in Nursing in 1991, she then went on to complete a bachelor of Health Science, Postgraduate in Health Management, Master of Management, Master of Health Science (First Class Honours) and is currently completing her PhD. Her nursing speciality is in neonatal intensive care at Auckland City Hospital, where she was a clinical charge nurse for eight years before embarking on an academic career. Deborah’s clinical experience and knowledge of adverse events started to raise questions for her about the level of safety within public hospitals. This inspired her to enrol in a PhD.

Current work

'Exploring the culture of safety in the contemporary healthcare organisation in New Zealand'

As the face of safety becomes more prominent within the health sector the call for accountability has become more prominent. Society today is calling for accountability within the sector. With the increasing media coverage of adverse events the public are becoming more aware of the number of adverse events that are occurring. Numerous studies have developed different systems, protocols and strategies to decrease the number of adverse events yet they continue to occur. Within the sector with a number of studies looking at the design of new systems has been conducted. However despite the amount of research being undertaken, why adverse events continue to occur remains unsolved. This research focuses on the implementation of the advice and recommendations from the external auditing agency the New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner on medical errors and adverse events in the New Zealand public hospital system. This study is important as the role of nurses has been recognized as pivotal by the Institute of Medicine (2004) to achieving the aims of a safe healthcare system. Furthermore that nurses are the gatekeepers of safe nursing practice and as the last point of contact for patients before any healthcare procedure is carried out, have a leadership role in the healthcare system necessary for “transforming” work environments. By transforming the way patient healthcare is delivered, threats to patient safety can be reduced (Altman et al., 2004). This research provides an introduction to the overall understanding of the HDC reports and the role that nursing leadership has in implementing the recommendations of the Commissioner.