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Louise Thomson

Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



I am an Associate Professor in Occupational Psychology, HCPC-registered Practitioner Psychologist (PYL21388) and Chartered Psychologist. I studied Psychology at UCL before moving to Nottingham to complete a MSc in Occupational Psychology and a PhD on Employee Sickness Absence, later becoming a researcher and then a lecturer at the University.

In 2000, I joined the Institute for Employment Studies to pursue more policy-focused research, evaluation and consultancy work. I have also worked as a freelance consultant, researcher and teacher. In 2009, I returned to Nottingham to work at CLAHRC (now ARC), focusing on engagement and knowledge transfer with regional healthcare organisations. I became Head of Research Support and Evaluation at the Institute on Mental Health in 2014 before moving into my current academic role in 2018.

I am now Course Director for the MSc in Occupational Psychology, the University's BPS-accredited Stage 1 post-graduate qualification required to become a Chartered Psychologist (Occupational) and HCPC-registered Occupational Psychologist. I am currently involved in a range of research projects in the area of mental well-being in the workplace, mental health inclusivity, and organisational change and development in healthcare organisations. I still work for the Institute of Mental Health as Lead Academic for the Research Support and Consultancy Service.

Expertise Summary

I am an Occupational Psychologist (CPsychol, HCPC-registered) specialising in psychological, social and organisational issues in occupational health, mental well-being at work, job retention and return-to-work. I have worked with NICE as a topic expert to develop guidance on return-to-work after long-term sickness absence (NG146, published 2019) and mental well-being at work (NG212, published 2022). I was a member of the British Psychological Society's Covid-19 Response 'Working Differently' working group, producing guidance on work-related matters during the pandemic. I have expertise on the evaluation of interventions and services in health and social care, with a particular focus on organisational change and the implementation and adoption of new working practices by health and social care staff.

Teaching Summary

I am Course Director for the MSc in Occupational Psychology, and module convener for Organisational Change and Development and the Applied Research Project module on this course, as well as… read more

Research Summary

My research focuses on:

  • the effectiveness of interventions in reducing sickness absence and improving job retention and return-to-work
  • mental health at work and the role of leadership, management and work design in work-related well-being
  • the implementation of evidence-based practice by health care professionals
  • healthy and safe working conditions for healthcare staff and patients

I collaborate with a variety of academics, practitioners and stakeholders in my research, and value a multi-disciplinary approach in the research I do. I am involved in three new funded research projects starting in 2022: a full trial of the OPAL intervention to support people returning to work following knee or hip replacement (HTA-funded, co-investigator); an ESRC-funded project led by Warwick University on mental health at work, and the economic impact of mental health interventions in the workplace; and phase 2 of the Mental Health Productivity pilots funded by the Department of Work and Pensions, during which we will be further developing our Managing Minds at Work intervention as well as examining the implementation and accessibility of all the pilots across the programme.

Active Research Grants:

  • STAndardised DIagnostic Assessment for children and adolescents with emotional difficulties (STADIA trial) (Co-investigator, Qualitative Lead) Funded by NIHR HTA 2018-22.
  • Randomised double-blind controlled trial of connectivity guided theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation versus repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment resistant moderate to severe depression: evaluation of efficacy, cost effectiveness and mechanism of action. (Co-investigator, Qualitative Lead) Funded by NIHR EME, 2018-21

Recently completed research grants:

  • Mental Health and Productivity Pilots (Co-investigator). Funded by the Midlands Engine 2019-2022
  • Well-being of the Workforce (WoW) Study investigating how work and employment has changed because of COVID-19 and the impact on well-being
  • The Poppy Factory IPS Pilot for Wounded, Injured and Sick Veterans (Evaluation Lead) Funded by Forces in Mind Trust. 2019-22
  • Evaluating the Care Certificate: A Cross-Sector Solution to Assuring Fundamental Skills in Caring (Principal Investigator) Funded by DoH Policy Research Programme
  • Occupational Advice prior to lower limb joint replacement (Co-investigator) Funded by NIHR HTA
  • The development and testing of a communication skills training intervention for healthcare professionals caring for people with dementia in acute hospitals (Co-investigator). Funded by NIHR HS&DR
  • Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace: a feasibility study. (Co-investigator) Funded by IOSH
  • Implementation of Individual Placement and Support in the East Midlands (Lead). East Midlands AHSN
  • Dementia and Employment - Scoping Project (Co-investigator). Public Health England
  • The Impact of 12-hour shifts on Healthcare Assistants (Principal Investigator). Funded by NHS England
  • Getting the Best from the Fit Note (Co-Investigator). IOSH

Recent Publications

I am Course Director for the MSc in Occupational Psychology, and module convener for Organisational Change and Development and the Applied Research Project module on this course, as well as contributing to other modules.

I also teach Consultancy Skills on the MSc Psychological Research Methods and a session on NICE Guidelines for Return-to-Work for the MSc in Workplace Health and Well-being.

I am currently supervising two PhD students

I am external examiner to the MSc in Occupational and Organisational Psychology at University of Liverpool, and for the Professional Doctorate in Organisational Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Future Research

Over the next 12-months we will be developing further research projects relating to the Managing Minds at Work intervention for line managers to promote mental health at work.

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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