Area of research expertise - Outline

I am a midwife. My primary area of interest is in applying sociological and political theory and action research to the organisational culture of the National Health Service in the UK. My main work has been in the maternity services with particular interests in organisational culture, workforce change and development, working relationships, public policy, emotions and care, emotional intelligence and critical obesity using qualitative, observational and ethnographic methods. My extensive academic work, clinical practice and external midwifery representation has given me a deep, rounded and realistic approach to developing strong effective midwifery and maternity services that give women, babies and families the best start in life.

Current research activities.

I am currently focused on workforce development and the support needs of midwives across Scotland through the development and evaluation of a new model of professional/clinical supervision

I am undertaking a mixed methods study with Robert Gordon University, ARA University and Auckland University, New Zealand that is exploring midwives' experiences of remote and rural midwifery.

Another of my research studies is exploring women's birth expectations and experiences and the process of hypnobirthing.  I am undertaking this research with a Consultant Midwife in one of the NHS Health Boards in Scotland.

I am also interested in the workforce, service and safety implications of the older worker in the NHS in the UK. 

Professional Doctorate

I am also the Programme Leader for the Professional Doctorate at UWS ( 


The programme requires that candidates demonstrate evidence of independent critical judgement and contribute to the development of original knowledge, as they would in any Doctoral award.  The Professional Doctorate is the same level of qualification as a PhD, but has a different focus.  Whilst PhDs are largely focused on in-depth study in a single discipline, the Professional Doctorate is, by its very nature interdisciplinary facilitating candidates to investgate contemporary issues facing their profession and to make a contribution to professional knowledge that is applied and practical in nature.



Desired research direction.

Organisational culture and/or change and workforce development; using action research and appreciative inquiry to initiate change especially in the National Health Service; critical ethnography to explore cultures.

Family interventions and working relationships

Relationality, especially the midwife-mother relationship and relationships between midwives and obstetricians; professional identities. The work of midwives in birth centres and alongside midwife-led units

The sociology of health and illness; emotion work within health and social care and across the public sector; critical understandings of obesity; 

The support needs of midwives; professional/clinical supervision; supporting birthing women using hypnobirthing as an intervention

Other areas of Expertise available for knowledge exchange.

Organisational culture, workforce change and development


The sociology of emotions

Doctoral level education, development of critical literacy, academic/research competencies and skills, communities of of practice, social participatory methods and situated learning


  1. Invited Guest Professor

    Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

  2. Scottish Doctoral Midwifery Research Society

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  3. Corporatisation, professional dissonance and shared visions: improving maternity services

    Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

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