Dr Deborah Thackray

Principal Teaching Fellow

Research interests

  • Debbie was awarded a Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) Research fund to conduct her study into the clincial reasoning of cardiorespiartroy physiotherapists as part of her Educational Doctorate.
  • Debbie continued to develop her knowledge about simulation and has been awarded several educational grants to develop and evaluate simulation-based educational programmes for both the undergraduate and post-graduates to prepare to undertake emergency on-call respiratory duties. The outcome from this work showed that the simulation programme helped improve Physiotherapists confidence following attending the programme and to feel less anxious about being on call. This is work was presented at the national Chartered Society of Physiotherapy CSP conference 2017 and the World congress of Physiotherapy in South Africa in 2017.
  • Debbie has worked on educational projects wthin the Research and Assesment Practice (RAP) group within the University and developed new assesment rubrics for several modules as part of this project. She presented the findings of this project at the 8th International Clinical Skills Conference in Prato 2018.  

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

Connect with Deborah


Debbie graduated from West Middlesex school of Physiotherapy in 1986, and worked clinically as a respiratory physiotherapist and later undertook her Master’s degree in musculoskeletal physiotherapy at University College London in 1996. It was during this experience that she developed an interest in clinical reasoning as a concept that is fundamental to the development of expertise. Debbie developed her knowledge further in this area whilst studying for her 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, she developed a new conceptual model of clinical reasoning for cardiorespiratory physiotherapy. In recognition of this work Debbie was awarded a Global Initiative award from the University in 2017. She continues to lead, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Sydney, on how clinical reasoning is developed and assessed.

Debbie was awarded the Vice Chancellors Teaching award in 2018 for the development of a simulated module, ‘Preparing for on-call’, for level 6 students and for postgraduate staff at two local NHS Trusts. She was awarded the Deans award for Education in 2020 for her development of 16 respiratory modules as e-learning for health (elf-H) platform on behalf of Health Education England in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.