Ph.D. position in Open Disclosure in Care

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: ;




0.8 - 1

Job description

The current PhD position involves research on open disclosure after patient safety incidents. Open disclosure refers to the process of providing full information, proactively and according to advancing insight, on why the incident happened, what the possibilities are for limiting or repairing the damage, how lessons are learned from the incident and whether the care provider offers compensation.

Open disclosure is of significant importance to both patients and involved healthcare providers to minimize the physical and mental consequences of errors. For healthcare providers and/or professionals, open disclosure can contribute to work effectiveness and well-being because incidents can be discussed, learned from, and accommodated in an open environment.

The idea that open disclosure is crucial for all stakeholders is widely supported. To encourage open disclosure information, training and coaching are offered to healthcare staff. Furthermore, open disclosure is embedded in the law, as are procedures that require healthcare providers report and investigate serious incidents, and procedures that encourage a fast and informal way of handling complaints and claims. This legal framework seeks to provide a comprehensive solution when something goes wrong in healthcare. Paradoxically, legal procedures concerned with openness, quality of healthcare, complaints and claims may also stand in the way of providing open disclosure.
Indeed, despite all measures that have been taken, research and practical experiences have shown that actually achieving an open environment where open disclosure thrives is difficult. This calls for research that creates insight into effective (organizational) strategies and (policy) instruments that actually stimulate open disclosure. A crucial element of such research is developing a valid method to assess open disclosure, in order to be able to test whether intended strategies and instruments actually lead to more open disclosure and benefit both the patients and the healthcare providers involved. Therefore, this PhD-study aims to gain insight into how to measure open disclosure and how to encourage it. To do so, a combination of qualitative methods (interviews, document analysis, focus groups) and quantitative methods (surveys, experiments) is used.

Your duties

The Ph.D. candidate conducts independent research within a team of researchers working on the Open Disclosure in Care project. The candidate is supervised by a (team of) professor(s), from the Faculties of Social Sciences, Law, and the NSCR (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement). The candidate incorporates the findings of his or her research in  articles, aiming to publish these in scientific journals. These articles also form the basis of a doctoral dissertation. Moreover the PhD candidate collaborates with, and initiates activities for knowledge sharing with the OPEN learning network. OPEN is a learning network in which knowledge and experience is shared between employees of different hospitals, and between these hospitals and researchers from the VU, Amsterdam UMC/Uva and NIVEL. In this way, hospitals provide each other and the researchers of OPEN with insight into their working methods aimed at open disclosure after medical incidents. There are currently 18 hospitals affiliated with OPEN (see also

In addition, the PhD candidate is enrolled in the Graduate School for Social Sciences to develop research skills. Furthermore, the candidate will be involved in teaching activities in the department of Organization Sciences.

  • MSc. degree in one of the social and behavioural sciences (psychology, sociology, organization sciences, communication sciences) with good grades, and with a strong interest in social / organizational psychological processes,
  • Demonstrable affinity with (hospital) care
  • Experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods, such as designing and executing experimental vignette studies, in-depth interviews, and content analyses, for example in the context of a master thesis;
  • Strong social skills and the ability to initiative activities in the context of the OPEN learning network of hospitals.
  • Strong interest in understanding justice perceptions, communication, information processing, information exchange and decision making in the context of organizations and particularly in motivational factors explaining these processes;
  • Excellent communication and writing skills in English and Dutch

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (scale 85.0) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (scale 85.3) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration in totall of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences examines the major social problems of our time from multiple perspectives. From bullying at school to dealing with transnational immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. Only at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you will find all the academic disciplines needed to understand these 'wicked problems': alongside the traditional disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and politics, we also research and teach the new social sciences such as communication science and management & organization science. We do not settle for easy answers in our teaching and research. Our researchers and students are critical thinkers and doers who work together to devise surprising solutions to the problems of today.

Working at the Faculty of Social Sciences means working with colleagues from a range of academic disciplines in an inspiring and personal work and study environment with excellent research facilities. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 2,500 students.

About the department

The current position is embedded in the FSS Department of Organization Sciences in close collaboration with the Faculty of Law, the NSCR and the OPEN learning network. The Department of Organization Sciences is a multi-disciplinary department which research focuses on understanding social issues related to organizing and organizations.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until


 The job interviews are planned for Friday 24 September and Monday 27 September, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Kim van Erp
Position: Assistant Professor
E-mail: k.j.p.m.van.erp@vu.n l
Tel. Secretariat Organization Sciences: 020-598 6740

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