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Dr. Sara Marion Dockrell

Adjunct Assistant Professor (Physiotherapy)


I am an Assistant Professor in the Discipline of Physiotherapy,School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin and a Chartered Physiotherapist. I am actively involved in curriculum development in a number of modules on the undergraduate course, most of which I am also the Module Leader. I developed Ergonomics courses for students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I am actively involved in teaching and research in the area, and have supervised research projects of undergraduate and postgraduate students. I have been a member of the International Ergonomics Association technical group in Ergonomics for Children in Educational Environments (ECEE) and also on the technical group for Patient Handling Ergonomics. I am a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics, and Chartered Physiotherapists in Paediatrics. I have previous experience of producing best practice guidance in healthcare and for the general public. An active editorial board member, peer-reviewer and member of school and faculty research ethics committees, I have published widely in clinical, education, and ergonomics peer-reviewed journals and written reports that have influenced policy. As an expert invited to an Oireachtas committee meeting, I dissuaded the members from drafting legislation on maximal permissible schoolbag weight limits.
  Children, health and disability   Ergonomics in Schools   Low Back Pain   Moving and Handling of Patients   Physiotherapy
 Task Furniture in Education
 Investigation of physical and psychosocial factors of schoolbag carriage among Irish school children
 The effects of computer related ergonomic intervention on schoolchildren's posture and discomfort.
 Post primary teachers education in computer ergonomics
 Analysis of the causes and costs of manual handling incidents in the health care sector

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Details Date
Editorial Board member of WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation Amsterdam, IOS Press. This involves peer-reviewing at least two submitted manuscripts each month and reviewing material for special issues. 2016
Journal reviewer for 13 international peer-reviewed journals 2015
Invited expert to the Health and Safety Authority (Guidance on the Management of Manual Handling in Health Care) 2011
Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapist Representative on the Health Promotion subgroup of the HSE Child Health Steering Group. Produced guidance to health care workers that they should deliver to parents at specific nodal points, ranging from ante-natal care to school years. 2015-2016
Member of Department of Education and Science expert working group on Weight of Children's Schoolbags. Group met regularly over a 15 month period to produce a report for the Minister for Education and Science 1997-1998
Invited expert to the Oireachtas Joint Committee of Children and Youth Affairs. 25/01/2017
International Ergonomics Association European Panel for Patient Handling Ergonomics met in person twice each year to monitor practice and develop policy on Patient Handling throughout the EU. 2005-2012
International Ergonomics Association Expert Panel Ergonomics for Children in the Educational Environment 2000-2007
External examiner Curtin University, Perth, Australia 2014
Chairperson Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists O'Driscoll O'Neill Research Bursary Assessment Panel. I co-wrote the guidelines for the bursary and assessed submissions for the award of the bursary on an annual basis. 2004-2009
Lecturer Post Graduate Diploma in Safety, Health and Welfare, University College Dublin. Developed own lecture content and delivered lectures. 1992-1993
Examiner Post Graduate Diploma in Health, Safety and Ergonomics University College Dublin 1992-1993
Lecturer MSc Environmental Health and Safety and Ergonomics, Technical University of Dublin, Grangegorman. 2020
Editorial Board, Physiotherapy Ireland. Quarterly meetings to peer-review submitted papers and produce the journal of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists. 1986-1991
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) 1978 Present
Irish Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2021 2022
Irish Ergonomics Society (IES) 1997 2021
Chartered Physiotherapist in Occupational Health and Ergonomics 1996 2022
Chartered Physiotherapists in Paediatrics 2005 2022
Dockrell S & Culleton-Quinn E, Remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic: Computer-related musculoskeletal symptoms in university staff, WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 74, 2023, p11 - 20, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Ward, S. MacDermott, E. Deane, J. Simmonds, J. Dockrell, S., Clinical characteristics of symptomatic hypermobility in children and young people: A scoping review protocol, Physiotherapy Practice and Research, 43, (1), 2022, p63 - 69, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Ward, S. MacDermott, E. Deane, J. Simmonds, J. Mockler, D. Dockrell, S., Symptomatic hypermobility in children and young people: A scoping review of clinical characteristics using a developmental framework, Physiotherapy Practice and Research, 43, 2022, pDOI: 10.3233/PPR-220699 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Rafferty, A., Fleming, N., Kiely, P., Mockler, D., Dockrell, S., Does exercise therapy improve pulmonary function in patients with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Sara Dockrell & Elizabeth Culleton-Quinn, Staying Well at your Computer: Computer use and computer related musculoskeletal symptoms in university staff during COVID-19, Trinity College Dublin TARA, Trinity College Dublin, January, 2022, Report, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Ward, S. McDermott, E. Deane, J. Simmonds, J. Mockler, D. Dockrell, S. , Clinical characteristics in children with symptomatic hypermobility: a scoping review protocol., Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists Annual Conference , Online, 22-23 October 2021, 2021, Oral Presentation, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S. Culleton-Quinn, E. , Computer-Related Musculoskeletal Symptoms During Covid-19: Survey of University Employees, Irish Ergonomics Review, Irish Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Annual Conference; Human Factors in evolving Socio Technical Systems, Online, 24th November 2021, edited by Dockrell, S , 2021, Notes: [ISSN 1649-2102], Oral Presentation, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S. Johnston, N. Kenny, K. Breen, T. Ó Nualláin, C. Quigley, S. Culleton-Quinn, E. , An investigation of computer-related musculoskeletal symptoms in university students during Covid-19, P4 Healthcare - Predictive, Preventative, Participatory, Personalised ISCP Conference 2021, Ireland Online, October 2021, 2021, Poster, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S. Ward, M. McCaughan, C. O'Sullivan L. (ed.), Irish Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Annual Conference Human Factors in Evolving Socio Technical Systems, Online, 24th November 2021, 2021, Notes: [ISSN 1649-2102], Proceedings of a Conference, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  Other
Dockrell, S. Forde, C. Gormley, J., Comparison of Energy Expenditure of Tasks in Standing and Sitting in Adolescent Girls , WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation, 66, (1), 2020, p17 - 23, Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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Sara Dockrell, Karen Jacobs, Parental awareness of schoolbag carriage, Learn at WORK Webinar Series, Online, 31st January, 2018, WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S, Guidelines for Schoolbag Carriage: An Appraisal of Safe Load Limits for Schoolbag Weight and Duration of Carriage, Learn at WORK webinar series, Boston, 21/06/2016, edited by Karen Jacobs , 2016, Oral Presentation, PUBLISHED
Sara Dockrell, Jill Burns, John Gormley, A Report of Sedentary Behaviour in Schoolchildren: A Comparison between German and Irish Secondary Schools, Dublin, December, 2014, p1 - 48, Report, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S. Johnson, M. Ganly, J., Analysis of the Causes and Costs of Manual Handling Incidents in the Health Care Sector , Report submitted to the Health and Safety Authority, July, 2007, Report, PUBLISHED
French, H. Dockrell, S. Cunningham, C. Roche, S. Cummins, V. and O'Dowd Crowley, P., The Back Care Book - A guide to keeping your back healthy, Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists for the HSE Health Promotion Unit, 2005, Notes: [Book developed by the ISCP for the Health Promotion Unit], Book, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S., Heavy Schoolbags - Concerns and Solutions, Paul Wagstaff Memorial Lecture, Trinity College Dublin, November 1998, 1998, Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Dockrell, S. , 'Weight of schoolbags and health implications' in Report of the Working Group on the Weight of Schoolbags, Dublin, Department of Education and Science, 1998, Report, PUBLISHED


. The key direction of my research is the investigation and application of ergonomics to promote physical health and well-being in both children and student populations in education, and adults in the workplace. My research outputs have been collaborative and have frequently been used to influence national population musculoskeletal health guidance and policy. I have consistently published my research in international peer-reviewed medical and ergonomics journals over many years. . I have researched extensively on the global problem of schoolbag carriage, and my innovative research for my PhD (2016) has impacted our understanding of schoolbag-related musculoskeletal discomfort in school children. My expertise on schoolbag issues is recognised internationally, evidenced by a significant increase in requests to be a peer reviewer for top journals on this subject area. . My research has impacted on national policy. At an invited meeting at the Oireachtas (2017) to review schoolbag load limit guidelines, I persuaded the members of the Joint Committee of Children and Youth Affairs to refrain from drafting legislation on maximal permissible schoolbag weight limits, as my research has shown that specific load limit cut-off points could not be identified. . Arising out of my research, I have produced guidelines for the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists website on (i) school bag carriage and (ii) working at a computer. . I was TCD PI in an EU-funded project (€1.3m) on school furniture (TFE) from 2010-2014. This collaborative study included researchers and manufacturers from Ireland, Germany, Portugal and US. Final summary report: . As lead PI of the Ergonomics in Schools Research Group, we were first to investigate computer-related ergonomics issues in schools in Ireland. Our research findings, based on a national survey of teachers, subsequently influenced the guidance literature produced by the National Centre for Technology in Education. . I initiated research collaborations on patient moving and handling, with St. Vincent's Hospital Dublin which culminated in publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Availability and use of patient handling sliding devices, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 13, 6 (2006), [Gallagher, P. Flynn, C. and Dockrell, S.] . My research on bariatric patient handling is the first to be undertaken in Ireland. This topic is important, given the increased prevalence of obesity, and the effects of this on the musculoskeletal health of health care workers. This work has potential to impact on patient handling policies to facilitate the safe handling of overweight and bariatric patients. . I am supervisor for a PhD candidate investigating the effects of exercise on Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). This is the first known study to explore the effects of post-operative physiotherapy-led exercises for AIS. The impact of the findings of the study are expected to be of national and international interest and alter the post-operative clinical care pathway of this patient population. . I am Co-PI for a National Children's Research Centre-funded PhD project (commence September 2020). This is the first time that a NCRC Clinical Fellowship Award has been awarded to a physiotherapist. This innovative collaborative study is being undertaken by physiotherapy researchers in Ireland and the UK, and a consultant rheumatologist. . All of the above show the consistent direction of my research originating from my clinical career.