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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Dr Debbie Thackray BSc, MSc, Ed Doc

Lecturer in respiratory physiotherapy, AHP skills and simulation lead, Educational lead for Physiotherapy

Dr Debbie Thackray's photo

Dr Debbie Thackray Principal Teaching Fellow in Physiotherapy at the University of Southampton being responsible for cardiorespiratory for both the BSc and MSc modules. She is the the educational lead for the National Physiotherapy Respiratory Leaders’ forum and through this committee works closely with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care ACPRC and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy CSP on clinical practice. Debbie is committed to supporting and developing therapists for the future, using simulation based learning and believes it can lead to improved patient outcomes and represents the AHP’s nationally as a simulation development officer for the Association of Simulated Practice in Healthcare ASPiH.

Clinical reasoning is a complex interplay between knowledge and understanding, cognitive and psychomotor skills, communication and reflection. I believe that Simulation based learning can facilitate the development of clinical reasoning in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

Before becoming a lecturer in physiotherapy, I worked clinically as a respiratory physiotherapist. I undertook my master’s degree in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and became interested in clinical reasoning as a concept that is fundamental to the development of expertise. I developed my interest further in this area whilst studying for my Educational Doctorate by undertaking a study that explored the clinical reasoning of respiratory physiotherapists using a simulated environment to observe staff as they assessed and treated a simulated patient in a high dependency unit. From this study, I developed a new conceptual model of clinical reasoning for cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.

I have a special interest in developing simulation based education within the undergraduate curriculum and for post-graduate continuing professional development. I currently hold a Higher Education Innovation Fund which has enabled me to develop and implement a simulation based educational programme for training post-graduate physiotherapists for their on-call duties in collaboration with staff from the North Hampshire Hospital Trust.

Work history and awards

Research interests

  • Clinical reasoning in Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy,
  • Systematic Review of clinical reasoning assessment tools
  • Development and evaluation of a bespoke Simulation based education on call training programmes with HHFT and Portsmouth Hospital Trust
  • Part of the working group with the national Simulation Based education strategy, for the national Technology enhanced learning TEL programme, HEE. 
  • Development of an e-learning respiratory care programme for elf-H HEE

Research Project(s)

  • Awarded two grants one from Health education innovation fund HEIF and one from regional HEE to design, implement and evaluate an on-call training programme for 2 local NHS Trusts.
  • Awarded the Global initiative award (2017) to work with the Work Integrated Learning department, University of Sydney on simulation-based education and development of clinical reasoning.
  • Development of a respiratory care programme for the Health education England HEE e-learning for healthcare (elf-H) platform.
  • Using simulation to better prepare students for placement (SOHS Latitude prize 2020) 

PhD supervision

Riaz. I : A mixed methods approach to explore perspectives of Pakistani people about their CLBP and how these are influenced by fear of movement.

Research Theme

Active Living

Research Group

Active Living for Health

Affiliate research group

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) department University of Sydney, Australia

  • Stream lead for Cardiorespiratory modules across the BSc and MSc Physiotherapy programmes.
  • Educational Lead for the BSc and MSC Physiotherapy programme: ensuring that we run a high-quality programme and implementing new innovative ideas for teaching and assessment.
  • AHP lead for skills and simulation, member of the clinical skills and simulation strategy group within the School of Health Sciences which oversees all aspects of the delivery of high-quality skills and simulation across all the AHP programmes.
  • AQR representative for the Chartered Society of physiotherapy for University Worcester.
  • Member of the HEE TEL group for Simulation.
  • Module co-ordinator for all of the respiratory modules for the BSc and MSc programme.
  • Personal tutor and locality contact for students on placement.
  • Research supervisor BSc, MSc, MRES and PhD students.
  • Internal and external examiner for PhD students.

Areas of expertise: education; clinical reasoning; simulation; cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal physiotherapy

Dr Debbie Thackray
Health Sciences Student Office University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 67/3033

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