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International Philosophy of Nursing Conference

University of Worcester City Campus

A three-day conference at the University of Worcester on 31 August - 2 September 2017

Revisit the philosophy and practice of nursing research and scholarship at the 21st IPONS conference.

International Philosophy of Nursing Conference Society logoAcross the world, regulatory bodies require nurses to be able to appraise nursing research and draw upon it in their everyday practice, but this requirement competes with a wide range of other subjects each of which can stake a claim to classroom time in a packed undergraduate curriculum.

A number of philosophical and practical issues challenge the research agenda in nursing. Can research undertaken to inform a practical profession be sufficiently grounded in the philosophy of its respective tradition so that results are both robust and accessible? Can practicing nurses really engage with and understand all of the intellectual traditions that inform their practice? Can research findings really direct practice in environments heavily influenced by commercial and political considerations?

Nursing’s claim to be a research based profession is now at least a generation old, and it’s time to revisit these philosophical and practical challenges.

Please view our draft conference programme for more information about the event.


John Paley
Visiting Fellow, Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Sheffield Hallam University

Professor Mark Risjord
Associate Dean, Department of Philosophy, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, USA

Professor Roger Watson
Professor of Nursing, University of Hull & Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Advanced Nursing

Dr Gill Thomson
Senior Research Fellow, UCLAN

Professor Susan Crowther
Professor of Midwifery, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen


Online booking

Register and pay using our online booking form.

You can select which day(s) you would like to attend, book on the Gala dinner, and select accommodation options via the above form.

Venue and accommodation


The conference will be held at the University of Worcester City Campus.


Conference accommodation will be based at our City Campus halls of residence.

The cost for bed and breakfast is £41 per night and can be booked via our online booking form.

Abstract submissions

Abstract submissions

The conference theme is revisiting the philosophy and practice of nursing research and scholarship. Abstracts are invited on the conference theme or any theme connected to the philosophy of nursing/healthcare. It is intended that parallel presentations will be 20 minutes long followed by 10 minutes of questioning.

Abstracts of up to 250 words should be e-mailed to by 3 July 2017

The abstracts will be reviewed by a panel and the announcement of selected abstracts will be made no later than 10 July 2017. To facilitate anonymous peer review, please send the abstract as a separate document attached to the e-mail.

Poster presentations

Poster presentations are also invited. Informal conversations regarding abstract submissions and poster presentations are welcomed by Paul Snelling ( or Martin Lipscomb (



John Paley, formerly at the University of Stirling, John is a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Sheffield Hallam University.  He has a degree in philosophy from Cambridge, and since the 1990s has written philosophical topics in nursing and research methods.  His recent publications include work on social cognition in the clinical environment, compassion, Heidegger, the philosophy of qualitative research, hope, spirituality in health care, and nursing ethics.


Professor Mark Risjord is Associate Dean, Department of Philosophy, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, USA.



Professor Roger Watson is a graduate of The University of Edinburgh with a PhD in biochemistry from The University of Sheffield who qualified in nursing at St George’s Hospital, London. Working in care of older people, he has a special interest in the feeding and nutritional problems of older people with dementia. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Advanced Nursing and a frequent visitor to China and Australia where he has visiting positions. He was most recently Professor of Nursing, University of Sheffield and is a member of the Research Excellence Framework sub-panel in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy.

Gill ThompsonDr Gill Thompson is currently working as a Senior Research Fellow within the Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit (MAINN) in the University of Central Lancashire. Gill has a psychology academic background and has worked within the public, private and voluntary sector. Since completing her Masters in the Psychology of Child Development in 1998, she has been employed on a number of consultation projects, the majority of which involved engaging with vulnerable population groups. Following successful completion of her PhD at the end of 2007 she has been employed by UCLan and has been involved in a number of research/evaluation based projects funded by various Primary Care Trusts, Department of Health and various charities (e.g. Breastfeeding Network, Best Beginnings) to explore psychosocial influences and experiences towards maternity services, infant feeding issues and support services. Gill’s research interests relate to psychosocial influences and implications of peri-natal care, with a particular focus on factors that impact upon maternal wellbeing, including peer support models of care. She also has a particular specialism in the interpretive phenomenological based research.

Professor Susan Crowther has worked in health care practice since 1983. For the last 25 years she has practised as a midwife in a variety of settings, home, birth centres and hospitals in several countries such as UK, Ghana, Burkino Faso, Armenia, NZ and France. As a NHS consultant midwife in England she set up a birth centre and organised the provision for a waterbirth service in Cambridge in the UK. In 2006 she moved to New Zealand where she set up a remote rural self-employed midwifery service. In early 2010 she joined AUT University in Auckland as a midwife senior lecturer and occasionally still provided a rural locum service for colleagues. In late 2015 she was offered a professorial chair in midwifery at Robert Gordon University where she works today.

Susan writes and publishes regularly and has been on the editorial board for the UK Practising Midwife for the past 13 years, a co-editor for the NZCOM journal, sub-editor for BMC Pregnancy and Birth and sub-editor on Women and Birth. She also provides reviewer services to several other journals. Susan sits on the International Confederation of Midwives Research Standing Committee and is a member of the Research Advisory Network. Although she is happy to work with most qualitative methodologies as directed by the purpose and questions of projects she is a keen advocate of hermeneutic phenomenology having been fortunate to receive guidance and supervision from Professors Liz Smythe and Pam Ironside over several years. Susan’s research interests cover many areas including relational models of midwifery care and rural maternity care provision and spirituality and birth. She has a book due to be published in the autumn of 2017 called ‘Spirituality and Childbirth: Practice and Meaning at the start of life’ which is an international collaborative project. She works closely with the Council of Deans for health education and is currently involved in a working group looking at the educational needs and standards for the Future Midwife which will inform the NMC’s future midwifery standards. Susan is also actively involved with the Royal College of Midwives ‘Better Births’ initiative with a focus on implementation of midwifery continuity of carer across the UK. She is an avid social media user, especially twitter and blogging.