Otago Polytechnic

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Research from Ditzel, Elizabeth

LizDitzel S

Liz Ditzel



Professor Liz Ditzel is a Registered Nurse who loves teaching. My career as an educator spans a variety of healthcare and management roles at Dunedin Hospital including Nursing Tutor, In-Service Educator and postgraduate Critical Care Course Coordinator. As a clinical nurse specialising in intensive care nursing, I held a number of practice and leadership roles including Intensive Care Charge Nurse, Nursing Supervisor and Afternoon Duty Coordinator.

As a working mother I balanced part-time work and study completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Master’s degree in economics and management culminating in my appointment as Lecturer in Management at the University of Otago, specialising in human resource management and organisational behaviour. However, still a nurse at heart, my Master's research explored nurse's mentoring relationships, and my Doctoral thesis examined the effect of a psychological sense of community on the level of job stress and burnout among New Zealand nurses.

My teaching philosophy comes from personal experience of being an adult learner and professional training in intensive care nursing requiring ‘quick thinking’ and ‘smart problem-solving’, especially in an unexpected or emergency situation. I am a strong advocate of experiential and constructivist approaches to learning, for example, as a management lecturer I visited local businesses to find opportunities for groups of students to conduct collaborative research with the owner(s). Many of my earlier publications featured case studies originating from this personal community engagement, e.g. R & R Sports; The Seriously Good Chocolate Company.

As a university academic, I supervised 40 research projects, dissertations and theses at Honours and Masters level in management, business, and health disciplines. Research topics included; police stress, team performance systems, self-employed Maori women, female rugby players & family-friendly work places. Research methodologies included quantitative, qualitative and case-study design. I have examined a good number of dissertations and projects at Master's level, and attended research supervisor workshops and mentored several doctoral candidates.

I am an established author and academic reviewer with more than 70 research outputs - book chapters, articles and international conference presentations - published on a variety of business, education and nursing topics. In 2017 I was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Contribution in Reviewing by the Nurse Education Today journal.

Having returned to nursing education in 2009, my teaching goal is to inspire students to ‘think like nurses’ and equip them with the skills to survive in today’s challenging healthcare environment. Recent research focuses on using creative learning and teaching strategies and mixed-reality technology using HoloLens headsets to develop first-year nurses’ clinical reasoning skills. My personal career highlight was being awarded a National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award by the Minister of Education in parliament in 2017.

I am a currently a member of the Research and Postgraduate Committee, internal ethics advisor to the School of Business and Chair of Otago Polytechnic's Research Ethics Committee

Research Outputs

Conference Contribution - Published Paper

Ditzel, L. (2017) Teaching clinical reasoning: the 'klinky' box activity. Abstract published in proceedings of Australasian Nurse Educators Conference (ANEC), September 28-30, Christchurch, NZ.

Ditzel, L., Lesa, R., & Hogarth, K. (2015) Teaching using an immersive 'hands-on' learning approach. Australasian Nurse Educators Conference(ANEC), Co-Creating the future, November 11-13, Auckland. Conference abstracts, p.55.

Ditzel, L., & Lesa, R. (2014) Immersive Learning in Nursing Education Paper presented to the AKO Research in Progress Colloquium, Christchurch, NZ and published in in the Proceedings of the AKO Research in Progress Colloquium (p.24).

Ross, J., & Ditzel, L. (2013) Evaluating the effectiveness of film as an educational resource for rural nursing Proceedings of the Australasian Nurse Educators Conference (ANEC). TePapa, Wellington, NZ. 9-11 October, 2013, pp.49-50.


Ditzel, L., Hogarth, K., & Lesa, R. (2016) Evaluating the effectiveness of immersive learning in nurse education: Go over it, see it, get it! ISBN 978-1-927202-91-3 Ako Aotearoa - Health Resources 2016.

Oral Presentation

Ditzel, L. (2015) Building knowledge using boxes and stories: A learning activity Proceedings of the 'Co-Creating the future 'Australian Nurse Educators Conference (ANEC) Conference, November 11-13, 2015, Auckland (p.24.)

Ditzel, L. (2012) What's in the box? Using children's picture books to encourage critical thinking. Paper abstract reviewed and accepted for oral presentation at the NZNO Nursing Research Section Conference 2012: Walking the talk: Moving evidence into action, 23-24 November, Nelson, New Zealand. Presented with a certificate of oral presentation.

Crawley, J., Walton,S. & Ditzel, L. (2012) Introducing death and loss concepts to nursing students: Children's picture books for grown up learning. Conference Handbook, Death Down Under (DDU) 2012 Conference, June 28-29, Otago Museum, Dunedin.

Conference Contribution - Other

Ditzel, L., & Lesa, R. (2015) Caring for a manikin: How real can it be? ANEC Co-Creating the future conference, November 11-13, Auckland, abstract, pp 92-93. Mini oral presentation (3 minutes) given at the poster session, presented by Raewyn Lesa.

Wheeler, A., & Ditzel, L. (2015) A teacher's reflections on using Adobe Connect to deliver Year one online lectures. ANEC Co-creating the future, November 11-13, Auckland.

Journal Article

Wilson-Salt, R., Brinkman, A. & Ditzel, L. (2011) Professional development of New Zealand nurses: Learning options and opportunities. Scope: Learning and Teaching. November, 2011, pp. 110-122.

Crawley, J., Ditzel, L. & Walton, S. (2011) How to build reflective learning through children's picture storybooks. Scope: Learning and Teaching. November, 2011, pp. 40-50.

Ditzel, E. M. (2009) Job stress among nurses: The implications for the healthcare profession. International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research, 1(2) pp. 125-142.

Chapter in Book

Ditzel, E., Strach, P. & Pirozek, P. (2008) An enquiry into good hospital governance: A New Zealand-Czech comparison. In Pillai, M. P. (Ed.) Hospital Management: New initiatives/dimensions, Icfai Books: the Icfai University Press, India. ISBN: 978-81-314-1946-5, Chapter 16, pp. 215-237.

Hall, E. (now Ditzel) (2008) Managerial dilemmas: Pumpkin Patch In Bartol, K., Tein, M. Matthews, G. & Sharma, B. Management: A Pacific Rim Focus, 5E, Australia: McGraw Hill. ISBN: 9780070135055 p.85

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