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Personal profile


Bernie is a children’s nurse who trained at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. Post-qualification she worked clinically within children’s surgery, neonatal intensive care, children’s high dependency and children’s intensive care settings in various hospitals in the North West of England. Whilst in practice she found she had more questions than answers; this was the start of a research career, although she did not know this at the time. She undertook her undergraduate degree and her PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). After leaving clinical practice she worked in Higher Education at MMU and the University of Central Lancashire.

Bernie moved to Edge Hill University in February 2016 to contribute to and co-lead the rapidly growing Children, Young People and Families Research Cluster. As part of her Professorial role, she is the Director of the Children’s Nursing Research Unit (CNRU) at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. A core aim of the CNRU is to foster a supportive environment in which clinical nurses and allied health professionals can develop and undertake robust research studies, implement research findings and establish integrated clinical-academic careers. Bernie is also the Director of ‘Circle’, an international collaboration of children’s nurses whose mission is ‘making things better for children and families’ through research. Key partners in ‘Circle’ are based in child health research units in New Zealand and Tasmania, offering fantastic opportunities for joint research and scholarship.

Bernie absolutely believes that research can be fun and is good for the soul, not least because it provides many challenges and opportunities for problem-solving. She tries to pass on this passion about research to ‘her’ doctoral students, who are undertaking a wide range of child and family related projects both in the UK and abroad. Bernie sees her role as Director of Studies as extremely rewarding and she loves providing guidance and support to her students and seeing them and their research projects develop. She is firmly committed to ensuring that students have a good experience of undertaking their research. She has 20 successful PhD completions with more students completing in the next 12 months.

Bernie has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles and more than 60 editorials. She has written or edited books on pain and children’s nursing and contributed chapters to books. She was the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Child Health Care (Sage Publications) for 23 years and stepped down from the role in 2018. Bernie is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research interests

Bernie’s research focuses on children and young people whose lives are disrupted by pain, illness, disability, complex health care needs and disadvantage, and the ways in which this affects their parents, brothers and sisters and family life. Her work aims to explore issues of importance to children, young people and their families to improve their everyday lives and the treatment provided and services they receive. Bernie’s research interests also encompass interventions that aim to promote best practice such as paediatric early warning scoring.

Much of Bernie’s research is qualitative; in particular her work is narrative, appreciative, participatory and arts/activities-based. She utilises a range of data-generation techniques consonant with children’s ways of expression, including visual art-based techniques and photography as well as interviews, focus groups and workshops. She works closely with children and families at all stages of the research process to ensure that her work is not only robust but is also grounded in the lives of the participants.

She is passionate about undertaking, implementing and disseminating research as she believes it can and does contribute to making things better for children and their families. She is interested in using innovative ways of disseminating work including the use of dance, performance, animation and the power of the written and spoken word.

Bernie’s current work includes studies addressing: holding children for procedures; friendship and loneliness of young people with IBD (Crohn's and Colitis); sepsis and pathways to hospital; early warning systems for critical deterioration of children in hospital; somatic practice and chronic pain; children's health literacy; rolandic epilepsy and its management; and postural care for children and young people who have disabilities.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PGCE Postgraduate Research Supervision, PGCert

… → 2004

PhD, Manchester Metropolitan University

… → 1995

PGCE Education (Further Education) & RNT, Other

… → 1991

Nursing Studies, BSc

… → 1989

Other positions

Adjunct Professor, Auckland University of Technology

2018 → …

Clinical Professor, University of Tasmania

2011 → …

Director of the Children’s Nursing Research Unit (CNRU), Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust

1 Sep 2008 → …

Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University


Professor of Children's Nursing, University of Central Lancashire



  • RT Nursing
  • Pain
  • Children and young people's voices
  • Parent
  • R Medicine
  • Deterioration
  • Early warning scores

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute


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