I’m a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham in the School of Health Sciences. I work within a research group that specialises in research on supportive, palliative, and end of life care. I used to be an NHS physiotherapist, and I specialised in healthcare of older people, stroke and neurological rehabilitation. I undertake research projects on interpersonal communication in healthcare, and on communication training for practitioners. I supervise PhD students working in these areas.
My interests are:
- Making understandings about healthcare communication from sociology and linguistics more available to healthcare practitioners, users and teachers
- Communication in palliative and end of life care, and in the care of frail people
- Communication about sensitive topics – including illness progression, dying, physical limitations and prognosis
- How healthcare practitioners and patients explain their views and proposals to one another
- How practitioners and patients (and their significant others) make decisions, and what collaborative decision making looks like
- How practitioners and patients talk about future matters, including prognosis, outcomes, and goals
- How they refer to parts of the body
- How dignity and compassion in healthcare are instantiated in actual practices used by practitioners, patients, and significant others
- How to deliver interventions that aim to enhance healthcare communication. Conversation analytic research can tell us what to train. But we don’t know enough about how to train communication so as to maximise training’s effectiveness.
I’m particularly interested in making research-based insights more easily available to health and social care practitioners. There are many, many conversation analysis studies of healthcare communication published in sociology, social psychology and linguistics books and journals. Some of their insights are highly relevant to everyday practice and its challenges. However, they are not currently very accessible to practitioners and policy makers. I’m interested in summarising and presenting this evidence so that it is more accessible. One way to do so is via systematic reviews. I have published, with Victoria Land, a paper on how to conduct systematic reviews of conversation analytic, and related discourse analytic research evidence. We have completed a systematic review on how difficult future issues are talked about, and another on communication practices uses in healthcare decision making and planning is almost complete.