Student Profile - Emma Tavender

Emma completed her PhD in 2014 in the Department of surgery and at the National Trauma Research Institute, her research looked at how to improve the management of mild head injured patients in the emergency department. Dr Tavender now works as an Associate Editor at Cochrane Australia as well as in the Emergency Research Group and the Murdoch Institute. This interview was originally published in 2014.

What is your PhD about?

My PhD aims to improve the management of mild head injured patients in the emergency department by increasing the uptake of research evidence into clinical practice. This type of research is often referred to as Research Translation or Implementation research and involves gaining an understanding of what clinicians should be doing, why there is variation in practice and determining what behaviour change techniques/strategies can be implemented to reduce this variation and improve care.

Who is your supervisor and why do you like them?

I have two supervisors, Dr Denise O’Connor and Prof Russell Gruen and I like the fact that they provide very different perspectives to my project. Denise has a wealth of experience undertaking research translation projects and provides very detailed comments whilst Russell is able to provide strategic direction due to his extensive clinical and research background in trauma care.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have a 16 month old son who takes up most of my spare time. Fortunately he enjoys the outdoors like his parents so our spare time is spent walking, cycling and swimming.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

“You only regret the doors you don’t go through not the ones you do”.

If you had to live somewhere other than Australia, where would it be and why?

It would be in the UK as that is where my parents and sister live.

What was your first ever job and what did it teach you?

My first job at 14 was stacking shelves at the local supermarket. I can certainly crush cardboard boxes quicker than anyone I know.

What are you going to do when you finish your PhD?

After celebrating and going on a nice holiday I will aim to get a post doc.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself something before you started your PhD. what would it be?

I would probably tell myself to hurry up and start writing as having a baby half way through makes things a bit more challenging.

Published 09/05/14