Dr Janet Hirst

Dr Janet Hirst

Head of School, Associate Professor in Maternal Care

0113 343 6295

Summary: Academic Unit: Midwifery, Social Work, Pharmacy and Counselling & Psychotherapy

Location: Baines Wing


I aspire to foster an inspiring and collegiate working environment for colleagues across disciplines and roles within the higher education spectrum, and an inspiring learning environment for students using a partnership model. I provide academic leadership to highly talented professional peers from a range of disciplines. Together we traverse the nuances of higher educational environments and juxtapose our employer’s organisational requirements with professional regulatory requirements to produce harmony and collegiate respect and conciliation. This enables us to deliver high quality educational programmes and maintain individual professional registration, recognition and respectability. My role also includes managerial responsibilities to enable organisational and personal needs to be met and a nexus realised and built upon at individual and organisational level. 

I am a keen advocate for developing and embedding research within health education e.g. amongst undergraduate and postgraduate taught students undertaking health related programmes as a means to improve deep and meaningful learning and subsequently good quality healthcare. This has come about as a consequence of commencing my career as a clinical nurse followed by midwifery (both at Bradford NHS Trust UK) before moving into maternity services research, then higher education, at the University of Leeds.

As a researcher I have a special interest in psychosocial aspects of maternity services and quality of care. As a collaborator with colleagues across the University, and more widely, research and educational activities have contributed towards informing the quality of maternity services for both users and carers. I have supervised masters and PhD students to successful completion studying maternity services and maternal experiences, nationally and internationally, and I continue to do so. I have a track record in developing research capacity amongst clinical staff and promote clinical academic careers at masters, PhD and political level.

As an educationalist and registered midwife I provide pre-registration midwifery education, validated by both the University and the regulatory body (Nursing and Midwifery Council UK) and postgraduate taught and postgraduate research programmes. Teaching activity focuses around applied research methods with aspects of maternal care and the role of the midwife.

As a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) I am committed to improving my skills to foster and facilitate student learning. I am particularly interested in exploring what it is like for people to receive healthcare and what it is like for individuals (students and registrants) to learn how to provide care and transform into a registrant providing care in, what tends to be, complex and emotionally heightened contexts. These interests inform and develop education and healthcare services.

I have been committed to higher education at the University of Leeds since 1992. During this period I have been actively engaged in pre and post registration health education and collaborative research projects across the Yorkshire and Humber health region (UK) and more widely. Such activities have led to active involvement in research within this inspiring environment including: writing collaborative research proposals and publishing with colleagues across both professional disciplines and organisations. This includes working with academics, healthcare service delivery colleagues and the private and public sector. These experiences have informed educational developments (curriculum design and delivery) and opportunities for students (within private, voluntary and public sector) and colleagues (such as membership of academic organisations and developing their potential).