Nottingham ESRC Doctoral Training Programmes

Collaborative PhD Studentship: dignity and compassion in practice


Collaborative PhD Scholarship Opportunity: Dignity and Compassion in Practice

An audio and video based study with advanced nurse practitioners

Closing date:  Friday 9th June 2017


DepartmentsSchool of Health Sciences, School of Sociology and Social Policy

Collaborative PartnerNottingham Universities NHS Trust

Applications are invited for this 1+3 PhD Studentship from suitably qualified UK/EU graduates who meet ESRC residency requirements. The PhD will entail an empirical study of healthcare interactions. Specifically, the study will involve designing and conducting video and audio based research on interactions between senior nurses and patients in healthcare of older people settings within a single hospital trust.

The research approach used will be conversation analysis.

The Project:

The purpose of the project will be

  1. to identify and analyse the largely tacit communication strategies through which compassionate care is accomplished, and through which obstacles to compassionate care are circumvented, and
  2. To design communication teaching resources based on recordings of real life practice.  

Extensive support and supervision will be provided by Professor Alison Pilnick, Dr Alison Edgley and Dr Ruth Parry, who have expertise in video-based conversation analysis and in conducting studies in sensitive healthcare environments, and by Dr Joanne Cooper –an experienced health services researcher, who will play a key role in brokering relationships with potential nurse participants and champions, and with service and research leaders in the clinical field.

In order to meet ESRC training requirements for admission to a +3 funded PhD, applicants must hold or be in the process of completing a Masters in Research Methods or equivalent course.  Candidates holding other Masters degrees without a majority research methods focus are unlikely to be eligible. The successful applicant will benefit from the Advanced Research Training opportunities offered by the Nottingham ESRC DTC and the wider DTC network. They will also benefit from established PhD support and training in the Schools of Health Sciences and Sociology and Social Policy, from being part of a vibrant community of PhD students engaged in conversation analytic projects and healthcare research projects, and from participation in regular conversation analytic data sessions at Nottingham and other local Universities.

Prior experience of work within health or social care settings and/or exposure to the perspectives and methods of conversation analysis will be an advantage.

Skills required in order to successfully conduct the research include:

  1. the ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with people who are particularly vulnerable by nature of their need for healthcare and with busy healthcare practitioners and managers,
  2. the ability to master a complex analytic approach grounded in social scientific and also linguistic concepts, which requires an eye for detail.

The Studentship:

Depending on residency eligibility, a full studentship covers home student tuition fees and provides a stipend of  up to £14,553 per annum for the duration of the project (three years) – starting from October 2017.  This is an excellent opportunity for a talented and enthusiastic Masters graduate in a healthcare or social science subject.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Alison Edgley:  or Dr Ruth Parry:

To make an application:

Please contact Dr Edgley directly (, with

  • A covering letter stating clearly how you fulfil the requirements of the studentship
  • A CV; and
  • Two academic references (names of referees are not sufficient).
Posted on Friday 5th May 2017

Nottingham ESRC Doctoral Training Programmes

University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4708