Paula Rowland

Faculty Member

Accepting Students

Paula Rowland began her career as an occupational therapist, working with children and adults in multiple healthcare settings across Canada. Following an interest in how the places where professionals work shape how they work, what they can know, and what they can learn, Paula pursued graduate studies in health systems and organizations. Having completed her PhD in 2013, Dr. Rowland focuses on broad mandates to reform the practice of health professionals within clinical workplaces. Her existing research has explored two substantive change efforts: patient engagement programs and patient safety and quality improvement programs. In each of these domains, Dr. Rowland explores questions about knowledge, power, and identity.

Through these studies of change efforts, Dr. Rowland’s program of research (a) extends and disrupts theorizations of professions and professional work, (b) builds from these conceptually rich understandings to examine interactions between professions, professional work, and healthcare reform, (c) contributes to education science through explorations of these changing dynamics and their implications for professional knowledge and learning. Conceptually and theoretically, her work makes connections between sociology of the professions, sociology of work, sociology of expertise, and health professions education.

Dr. Rowland is interested in working with students and colleagues using social science theories to understand patient engagement, quality improvement, and patient safety programs. She is also interested in sociocultural approaches to understanding learning and practice within clinical workplaces. This might include dynamics of the clinical learning environment, practice-based learning, workplace learning, knowledge mobilization, and continuing professional development. Ultimately, she contributes to models of education that support future experts and future expertise in a rapidly changing world.