Dr Yvonne Thomas


Principal Lecturer - Allied Health

Department of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Nutritional Therapy

Contact Details

email: y.thomas@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 54 2610

I commenced my position with the University of Worcester in June 2013, after 25 years educating occupational therapy graduates in Universities in New Zealand and Australia. I completed my education in UK and worked as a practice Occupational Therapist in Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Bristol, before moving overseas. I completed my Masters in Education and my PhD at James Cook University, in Queensland Australia. The focus of my research is the connection between human occupation (the things that people do) and their experience of wellbeing. My doctoral studies specifically looked at the occupations and wellbeing of people who are homeless, I am committed to providing high quality occupational therapy education and ensuring the graduation of health professionals who can practice in a diverse wide range of services to meet health and wellbeing needs of people without discrimination or prejudice.


Doctor of Philosophy - Occupational Engagement and Wellbeing (James Cook University, Queensland, Australia, 2012)
Master of Education (James Cook University, Queensland, Australia, 2004)
Diploma for Graduates in Education (Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand, 2001)
PG Cert Clinical Teaching (Canterbury University, New Zealand, 2000)
Diploma of College of Occupational Therapists (St Loyes School of Occupational Therapy, UK, 1983)

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

I have extensive experience of teaching a wide range of subjects required for professional practice. As an Occupational Therapist I believe learning is achieved through doing and therefore my classes are designed to encourage active participation, discussion and critical reflection.
My philosophy of education is to provide meaningful learning experiences that engage students in active learning through practical and theoretical activities that are challenging and fun. My aim is to ensure that learning is transformative for students and for educators.

Areas of Teaching Interest

  • Professional Communication
  • Ethical practice
  • Occupational Science and Occupational Justice
  • Professional Reasoning and Decision Making
  • Evidence-based practice and Practice-based Evidence
  • Practice Education
  • Role Emerging Practice
  • Health Promotion and Community Development

Research Interests

I utilise mainly qualitative research methods to explore the lived experience and meanings of those whose occupations are limited by physical, cognitive, social, environmental or cultural factors. As a researcher I am interested in how peoples experience of wellbeing is influenced through their activities and social environment. In practice this has lead me to studies related to people who live in rural and remote settings, people who are culturally diverse and marginalised, and the diverse experience of students and health professionals in providing services that meet these needs.

Areas of Research Interest

  • Wellbeing and Occupation across the age range
  • Practice Education
  • Student experiences and professional decision making
  • Rural and Remote Practice
  • Culturally Diverse Populations

Professional Bodies

  • Registered with the HCPC
  • Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists
  • Fellow of the HEA


Grant T, Thomas Y, Gossman P, Liz Berragan (Accepted for Publication, February 2021) The Use of Simulation in Occupational Therapy. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (Online). 

McAuliffe T, Cordier R, Chen Y, Vaz, S, Thomas Y, & Falkmer T. (2020) In-the-moment experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder: a comparison by household status and region of residence. Disability and Rehab, Published online: 18 Jun 2020.

Gray, M, Thomas, Y, Bonassi M, Elston J, Tapia G. (2020) Cultural safety training for allied health students in Australia. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 1-10.                    

Thomas Y, Seedhouse D, Peutherer V, & Loughlin M (2019) An Empirical Investigation into the Role of Values in Occupational Therapy Decision-Making. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 82(6), 357–366

McAuliffe T, Thomas Y, Vaz S, Falkmer T. & Cordier R., (2018) The experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder: Managing family routines and mothers' health and wellbeing. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 66, 68-76. 

Thomas Y and Penman M (2019) World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) standard for 1000 hours of practice placement: informed by tradition or evidence? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 82(1) 3-4

Thew M, Thomas Y and Briggs M. (2018) The impact of a role emerging placement while a student occupational therapist, on subsequent qualified employability, practice and career path. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 65, 198207

Thomas Y and Penman M (2017) Prioritising practice education through collaborations. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 64, Suppl 1, 39-42

McAuliffe, T., Cordier, R., Vaz, S., Thomas, Y., & Falkmer, T. (2017). Quality of life, coping styles, stress levels, and time use in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders: Comparing single versus coupled households. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 47 (10), 3189-3203. doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3240-z

Sima, L., Thomas, Y. & Lowrie, D (2017) Occupational disruption and natural disaster: Finding a new normal in a changed context. Journal of Occupational Science. 24 (2), 128-139. Doi: 10.1080/14427591.2017.1306790

Thomas, Y, and Penman, M (2017) Scholarly commentary: Prioritising practice education through collaboration. Australian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Special Edition. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 64 (Suppl. 1), 3942 doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12377

Thomas, Y. Gray, M., McGinty, S. (2017). The Occupational Wellbeing of People Experiencing Homelessness. Journal of Occupational Science. 24:2, 181-192, DOI: 10.1080/14427591.2017.1301828

Boehm, J. Cordier, R. Thomas, Y. Tanner, B. Salata, K. (2017). The first year experience of occupational therapy students at an Australian regional University: Promoting student retention and developing a regional and remote workforce. The Australian Journal of Rural Health, 25, 22-27

Thomas, Y. Menage, D. (2016) Editorial: Reclaiming Compassion as a core value in occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79(1), 3-4. DOI: 10.1177/0308022615620682

Boehm, J., Tanner, B., Lowrie, D., Bonassi, M., Brown. N., Thomas, Y., Cordier, R (2015). Exploring emerging occupational therapy identity and the development of graduate attributes among occupational therapy students. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 78, 498-506. DOI: 10.1177/0308022614562585

Thomas, Y. and Judd, J (2015). Establishing a community of practice for occupational therapy curriculum development: The value of a two way process. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62, 238-245. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12196

Hamilton, A., Copley, J., Thomas, Y., Edwards, A., Broadbridge, J., Bonassis. M., ... (2015). Responding to the growing demand for practice education: Are we building sustainable solutions? Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62, 265-272. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12181

Thomas, Y.(2015) Cyclone Yasi: The experience of Queenslanders without a Home. Chapter in Rushford, N and Thomas, K.Disaster and Development. Elsevier: Edinburgh. (pp71-72)

Thomas, Y., Frank, H., Mauro-Bracken, L., Goodall, D., Thackeray, K., Jones, R. (2014). The value of writing groups and the barriers to writing: A response.International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation21(6), 259

Rodger, S.,Thomas, Y., Greber, C., Broadbridge, J., Edwards, A., Newton, J. and Lyons, M. (2014), Attributes of excellence in practice educators: The perspectives of Australian occupational therapy students.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 61, 159167. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12096

Thomas, Y.(2012). Homelessness in Townsville: A perspective of wellbeing.Parity, 75(6), 34. Gray, M., Clark, M., Penman, M., Smith, J., Bell, J.,

Thomas, Y., Trevan-Hawke, J. (2012). New graduate occupational therapists feelings of preparedness for practice in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 59,445455

Thomas, Y.,Gray, M, and McGinty, S. (2012). The wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness: It is not about health.Social Work and Health Care, 59(1), 780 797

Alexandratos, K., Barnett, F &Thomas, Y.(2012). The impact of exercise on mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness: A critical review.British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(2), 48-60

Thomas, Y.,Gray, M, McGinty, S. & Ebringer, S. (2011). Homeless Adults Engagement in Art: First Steps towards Identity, Recovery and Social Inclusion.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(6), 429-436

Thomas, Y.,Gray, M. & McGinty, S. (2011). A systematic review of occupational therapy interventions with homeless people.Occupational Therapy in health care, 25(1), 38-53

Thomas, Y.,Gray, M, & McGinty, S. (2011) Occupational Therapy at the Cultural Interface: Strategies for research and practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(1), 11-16 Stedman, A. &

Thomas, Y. (2011) Reflecting on our Effectiveness: Occupational Therapy Interventions with Indigenous Clients.Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(1), 39-48. Nelson, A., Gray, M., Jensen, H., McIntosh, K., Paluch, T., &

Thomas, Y.(2011) Filling the Gap: What do Occupational Therapists need to partner effectively with First Australians?Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(1), 17-24. Rodger, S., Fitzgerald, C., Davila, W., Millar, F., Springfield, L.,

Thomas, Y., Garbutt, K., & Greber, C. (2011) Consumer perspectives of quality in student delivered occupational therapy services.Focus on Health Professional Education, 13(2), 37- 52.

Thomas, Y. & Rogers, S. (2011). Is the Student up to it? In M. Thew, M Edwards, S. Baptiste, M. Molineux (eds).Role emerging occupational therapy: Maximizing occupation-focused practice educating student occupational therapists, (pp36-53). Oxford: Willey-Blackwell.

Thomas, Y., Gray, M. and McGinty, S. (2010) Homelessness and the right to inclusion.WFOT Bulletin 62,19-25. Rodger, S.,

Thomas, Y., Holley, S., Springfield, S., Edwards, A., Broadbridge, J., Greber, C., McBryde, C., Banks, R., Hawkins, R. (2010). Increasing the occupational therapy mental health workforce through innovative practice education: A pilot project.Australian Journal of Occupational Therapy 56,409-417.

Thomas, Y.,Clark, M., van Groningen, K., Overton, A. Scanlan, L. (2009). In it for the long run: Factors contributing to workforce longevity in occupational therapy. James Cook University, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine & Rehabilitation Sciences

Overton, A., Clark, M.,Thomas, Y.(2009). A review of non-traditional occupational therapy practice education: A focus on role-emerging and project placements.British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(7),294-301

Thomas, Y.(2009). Inspiration: Moving forward when you do not see the steps.New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy,56(1), 12-18.

Thomas, Y. (2009) A political practice of occupational Therapy. Book Review.International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 16(2),114.

Rodger, S.,Thomas, Y., Fitzgerald, C., McBryde, C., Dickson, D., Edwards, A., Broadbridge, J., & Hawkins, R.(2008) Evaluation of a project to engage occupational therapy clinicians in fieldwork.British Journal of Occupational Therapy,71(6), 248-252.

Gair, S. &Thomas, Y. (2008) Ensuring safe passage: Identifying the threat of workplace violence against tertiary students.The Journal of Occupational Health and Safety, 24(1).

Hooper, K.,Thomas, Y. & Clarke, M. (2008) Positive partnerships: Investigation of the relationship between occupational therapists and AHW. Republished inAustralian Journal of Rural Health, Virtual Issue on Indigenous Health, 16.

Conference Presentations:

Thomas, Y. Gray , M.and McGinty, S (2014) Occupational Wellbeing in Homelessness Paper presented at World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) Conference June 2014, Yokohama, Japan


Thomas, Y and Sima, L. (2014) Occupational Disruption resulting from Cyclone Yasi Poster World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) Conference June 2014 Yokohama, Japan 

McAuliffe, T , Barnett, F. and Thomas, Y. (2014). Occupational Role of stay-at-home Mothers. Paper presented at World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) Conference, June 2014, Yokohama, Japan 

Yumiko Hayashi, Yvonne Thomas , Yda Smith, Ann Maree Chapman, Rumi Tanemura, Mokoto Kono, Hoang Hoa Hai (2014). Developing OT in Vietnam Poster presented at World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) Conference June 2014 Yokohama, Japan     

Y. Thomas , Gray M, and McGinty, S. (2013). Micro, Macro and Meso factors affecting wellbeing of people experiencing Homelessness. Paper presented at International Occupational Science Conference, September 2013, Cork, Ireland       Double, A and Thomas, Y (2014). Action Learning Sets in OT education. Paper presented at COT Conference, Brighton, June 2014, Brighton

External Responsibilities

Member of External Advisory Board, Australian Occupational Therapy Journal