Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
From 1988 until 2001 I worked in social care, supporting people with mental health problems to live independently in the community. In 2001 I went to Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh and during the course of my undergraduate degree in sociology and social policy I discovered a strong interest in social research. I went on to complete a Master's in Research and a PhD at the University of Aberdeen. My research interests are centred upon the social context of death and dying, with a focus on the ways in which individuals navigate their way through customary practices in particular social settings.
My teaching interests focus upon aspects of the social context of death and dying and social research skills.
I supervise both master's students and undergraduates undertaking their dissertations.
I lecture undergraduate nurses on qualitative research methods.
I am currently working as a research fellow on two projects.
1) Cascading knowledge about end of life care at home: the development and piloting of a training programme for those who help carers and a carer resource pack: This is a project led by Professor Jane Seymour which aims to develop and pilot a training programme for volunteers and support workers who help carers providing home based end of life care and also to develop a resource pack for carers.
2) Lung cancer diagnosed following emergency admission: improving patient experiences and outcomes: This project is led by Dr Andrew Wilcock and it aims to obtain a detailed understanding of the characteristics, needs, experiences and outcomes of patients with lung cancer who are diagnosed following emergency admission, and to identify areas in the diagnostic and treatment pathway where there is scope to improve the care provided to this group of patients and their carers.
'We can do nothing for the dead': comparing approaches to the funeral of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in the early 20th and 21st centuries, Death in Scotland conference, Edinburgh, February 2013
'A qualitative exploration of dying with dementia in the acute hospital setting', British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Conference, Leicester, September 2012
'Crossing the divide: Public and private aspects of post-death regulatory practices', British Sociological Association annual conference, Leeds, April 2012
'Spirituality in 21st century funerals: Exploring practices in a traditional and a modern Scottish setting'. LOROS Spirituality in Palliative Care Conference, Creaton, 26 - 28 October 2011
'Dying with dementia in the acute hospital setting', British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Conference, Chester September 2011.
'A funeral fit for its purpose?' 10th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, September 2011.
'Watching: A woman's role in Isle of Lewis funerals', Sue Ryder Care Centre, University of Nottingham, June 2011.
'Caring for frail or seriously ill older people on acute hospital wards', British Sociological Association Annual Conference, London, April 2011.
'Managing death in twenty-first century Britain', British Sociological Association Annual Conference, April 2011.
'A family affair? Managing death in the twenty-first century', 7th Global Conference on Making Sense of Dying & Death, Prague, November 2010.
'Scottish Presbyterian approaches to funeral music', A good send-off: Local regional and national variations in how the British dispose of their dead, Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath, June 2010.
From June 2010 until November 2012 I was working as a post-doctoral research fellow on a study called 'Caring for frail or seriously ill older people on acute hospital wards'. This project, led by Dr Kristian Pollock, explored end of life care in the acute hospital setting for older people with dementia.
My PhD, which I completed in 2009, was a qualitative exploration of Scottish funeral practices undertaken in the Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen.