As the new Gold Coast University Hospital prepares to swing open its doors, its staff is also readying itself for major change in their working lives.

Researchers at Griffith University will examine the impact of the change of environment for the 5,000-strong hospital workforce.

Griffith Business School and Griffith Health Group have joined forces for the study which will analyse the impact of change on culture and performance at the new hospital.

A pilot study is underway at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, with plans to assess employees before the move out of Southport, immediately after the relocation to Parklands and 12 months after the move.

“We want to know how people feel about the move,” Anneke Fitzgerald, Professor Health Management, Department of International Business and Asian Studies, said.

“What are the hopes and aspirations of current employees about moving to this new entity called the university hospital? What are the values and beliefs they carry in this respect? What does it mean to them?”

Professor Fitzgerald is working with Professor Roslyn Sorensen, head of Griffith’s School of Public Health, on the research project.

In partnership with the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, they will collect data using extensive surveys and a sample of interviews. They hope to identify the successful factors involved in the cultural transformation process, and also the factors that can be improved to maintain efficiency in the workplace at a time of change.

“I believe hospitals and medical centres around the world can take a lead from the new Gold Coast University Hospital in this respect. Many university hospitals globally are being renewed,” Dr Fitzgerald said.

“This kind of movement and relocation is not uncommon, and business of all shapes and sizes can learn more about what needs to be achieved and avoided during change.

Professor Fitzgerald is an expert in the management of the business of health. She worked in the health industry as a nurse and health manager for 20 years, before completing a PhD in commerce leading to an academic focus on the policy of change and how change is enacted.