Professor Karen Spilsbury

Professor Karen Spilsbury

Chair in Nursing Research

+44(0)113 343 1329

Summary: Academic Unit: Adult, Child and Mental Health Nursing

Location: Baines Wing


Karen joined the University of Leeds in March 2015 as Chair in Nursing.  She is a registered nurse and health services researcher. Her expertise extends to fields central to contemporary nursing practice, demonstrated by the development of a programme of clinically and policy relevant research in the areas of the healthcare workforce and care for older people.  In particular, she is interested in evaluating how changes in the composition, organisation and management of the healthcare workforce impact on quality of care and outcomes.  This work has focused (to date) in adult acute and community services and care homes.

Over the past decade, she has been associated with research grant income from prestigious and competitively funded sources of more than £7m (as PI and co-investigator).  Her work on healthcare assistants makes an important contribution to international debates about the roles of assistants in nursing; roles which are likely to have greater future policy significance.  Her other research interest is the promotion of quality in care for older people in care homes. She has widely published her work.

Ongoing funded research projects include:

  • A longitudinal study of personal qualities, values and readiness to engage in caring work among students in nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. PI Professor Kate Galvin (University of Hull)
  • Primary Care-Based Management of Frailty in Older People: Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC 2 for Yorkshire and Humber). PI Professor John Young, Bradford Institute for Health Research
  • Values Based Recruitment: What works, for whom, why, and in what circumstances? PI Professor Karen Spilsbury
  • Innovation to enhance health in care homes: Rapid evidence synthesis. PI Professor Barbara Hanratty (University of Newcastle)
  • Organising general practice for care homes: A multi-method study. PI Professor Barbara Hanratty (University of Newcastle)
  • Relationship between care home staffing and quality of care: a mixed methods approach. PI Professor Karen Spilsbury

Karen was awarded her personal Chair at the University of York in 2012.  She is an Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia. 

Karen is a member of the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme Commissioning Board.  Her editorial duties include an Associate Editor role with the International Journal of Nursing Studies.