Dr Debbi Long

Casual Academic

School of Humanities and Social Science (Sociology and Anthropology)

Career Summary


Research Expertise
Debbi has extensive experience in qualitative research in health, most particularly in hospital based ethnography, having researched in a number of hospital environments including maternity, spinal, dialysis, and intensive care. She has worked as a consultant in a number of areas, including health management, infection control, industrial relations and rostering reform.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Masters Degree, University of Nijmegan - The Netherlands


  • anthropology
  • cultural anthropology
  • feminist anthropology
  • health industrial relations
  • health organisation and management
  • hospital ethnography
  • medical anthropology
  • organisational and management analysis

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified 100


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Iedema R, Long D, Carroll K, 'Corridor communication, spatial design and patient safety: Enacting and managing complexities', Organizational Spaces: Rematerializing the Workaday World, Edward Elgar Publishing, London 41-57 (2010) [B1]
Citations Scopus - 9

Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2008 Long D, Hunter CL, van der Geest S, 'When the field is a ward or a clinic: Hospital ethnography INTRODUCTION', ANTHROPOLOGY & MEDICINE, 15 71-78 (2008) [C3]
DOI 10.1080/13648470802121844
Citations Scopus - 22Web of Science - 16
2006 Iedema RAM, Jorm C, Long D, Braithwaite J, Travaglia J, Westbrook M, 'Turning the medical gaze in upon itself: Root cause analysis and the investigation of clinical error', Social Science and Medicine, 62 1605-1615 (2006)

In this paper, we discuss how a technique borrowed from defense and manufacturing is being deployed in hospitals across the industrialized world to investigate clinical errors. We... [more]

In this paper, we discuss how a technique borrowed from defense and manufacturing is being deployed in hospitals across the industrialized world to investigate clinical errors. We open with a discussion of the levers used by policy makers to mandate that clinicians not just report errors, but also gather to investigate those errors using root cause analysis (RCA). We focus on the tensions created for clinicians as they are expected to formulate 'systems solutions' that go beyond blame. In addressing these matters, we present a discourse analysis of data derived during an evaluation of the NSW Health Safety Improvement Program. Data include transcripts of RCA meetings which were recorded in a local metropolitan teaching hospital. From this analysis we move back to the argument that RCA involves clinicians in 'immaterial labour', or the production of communication and information, and that this new labour realizes two important developments. First, because RCA is anchored in the principle of health care practitioners not just scrutinizing each other, but scrutinizing each others' errors, RCA is a challenging task. Second, thanks to turning the clinical gaze in on the clinical observer, RCA engenders a new level of reflexivity of clinical self and of clinical practice. We conclude with asking whether this reflexivity will lock the clinical gaze into a micro-sociology of error, or whether it will enable this gaze to influence matters superordinate to the specifics of practice and the design of clinical treatments; that is, the over-arching governance and structuring of hospital care. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.08.049
Citations Scopus - 50

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 PhD Creative Survival; What We Can Learn From Women Who Have Experienced Violence, and How We Can Better Listen
PhD (Gender & Health), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle

Dr Debbi Long


Casual Academic
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Sociology and Anthropology

Contact Details

Email debbi.long@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7359


Room W344
Building Behavioural Sciences Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308