Alumni Services

Prof. Margitta B. Beil-Hildebrand

Classic Porsche rally car driver & Professor of healthcare policy, Professor Margitta B. Beil-Hildebrand reminisces about her time in Edinburgh and thanks her PhD fellows for their support.


Professor Margitta B. Beil-Hildebrand, Ph.D., M.Sc., Dip. Nurs. Mngt., PG Cert. HE, RGN

Degree Course

MSc Nursing and Health Studies

PhD Social Science

Year of Graduation 1994 & 2001

Your time at the University

Prior to attending Edinburgh I graduated as a general nurse in Munich, Germany in 1984. Upon graduation, I worked in a general medical ward before moving into intensive care nursing. In 1991, I received my Diploma in Nursing Management and moved into a chief nursing director position in a Bavarian hospital.

I chose Edinburgh based on recommendations from a number of post-graduate students within the subject area whom I used to be in touch with at the time. In addition, the Department of Nursing Studies had an excellent reputation for teaching and researching nursing from a (qualitative) social science point of view. I arrived in Edinburgh in September 1993 with a full scholarship for my studies from the Robert Bosch Foundation in Stuttgart, Germany.

The University of Edinburgh offered a part-time Ph.D. research programme and the flexibility to mix and match supervisors between different departments among the social science faculty. Studying for the Ph.D. was not an easy task, but the insights I gained from the nursing and business studies were enjoyable. Notable experiences included being introduced to the art of ethnography and to see my research in the context of organisational sociology as well as labour process theory. I owe a huge intellectual debt to Prof. Kath Melia and Prof. Paul Thompson whom each in their own way offered valuable guidance as well as support to explore those areas in which we both agreed as well as disagreed. My gratitude goes to my Ph.D. fellows and colleagues who gave unfaltering support, sympathy, and patient encouragement 24 hours a day.

There are so many good memories and there is no doubt that studying at the University of Edinburgh helped me work in the field I enjoy so much and become the person that I am today.

Prof. Margitta B. Beil-Hildebrand

Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University

Between 2001 and 2007, I held various post-doctoral lectureships in Germany and elsewhere abroad while concurrently acquiring two post-graduate certificates in higher education and post-graduate education.

Since 2008, I teach international healthcare policy, healthcare management and social science research as a professor at the Institute of Nursing Science and Practice within the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria.

I am also director of the graduate programme, which focuses on successful postgraduate students in pursuit of their Ph.D. degree in Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. My research builds upon a structuralist labour process analysis in which the rationality or effectiveness of the contemporary forms of managerial initiatives within distinct healthcare contexts are neither taken for granted nor presumed. I have published work on the architectural and artistic design of hospital organizations, the causes, and consequences of nurse absence, comparative healthcare policy, analytical Human Resource Management, the German healthcare reform experience, and corporate culture change within the healthcare sector. Recently, I added a new book to my list of publications on the management of change and human behaviour in healthcare organizations.

If I have any time left in between my professional endeavours, I am a keen Porsche 356 and 911 rally driver and have published several articles in German on classic Porsche cars. If you ever encounter a Porsche 356 driver, please be kind to them since they are usually very nice people.

Alumni wisdom

In the beginning, it is hard work, but in the end, it opens up a world of possibilities.

Further information

Margitta keeps webpage of her publications and activities where you can contact her: Prof. Beil-Hildebrand's website