Her research has contributed to theory for nursing practice and encompasses projects that move through the chain of theory generation, to empirical work, through to practice application and evaluation. She is guided by questions that include but are not limited to, what we mean exactly by dignity, what is the human experience of dignity? What do we mean by wellbeing and what do we understand about human experience when wellbeing is absent? These questions point to complicated concepts that are often ‘slippery’ and very difficult to define. Using this focus she has been developing new theory and evidence, based in phenomenological study, for use in nursing practice.
More recently, her theoretical work is contributing to a new and emergent field ‘ethics of care’. She collaborates with the Centre for Values-based Practice at St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford and has built partnerships culminating in successful international research collaboration, including founding the European Academy of Caring Science (a Scandinavian influenced field).
She has led projects in practice that examine applications and value of theory for improving care (for example funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing: The Development of a Transferable Leadership Strategy for promoting Dignity in Care.