Dr Margaret A Coulter Smith (PhD , MSc, Dip , RNT, RCNT, General ICU Certificate, RM, RN) is a Senior Lecturer in the named Division. She is also members of the Centre for Person-Centred Practice (full member)and the Centre for Applied Social Sciences (associate member).

  • Overview
  • Research Interests
  • Research Publications
  • Funded Projects
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Activities & Awards

Margaret qualified as a registered adult nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, in 1979. She gained over 10 years experience in clinical roles (A&E, general surgery, medicine, critical care, midwifery) as a staff nurse, staff midwife, charge nurse and joint appointment clinical specialist/ clinical lecturer (Manchester). Margaret’s higher education career extends over 28 years across undergraduate/ postgraduate education with academic leadership and research. She was awarded a PhD in 2005 from the University of Surrey, Nurses’ early recognition of medical patients in transition states from acute to critical illness or cardiac arrest; The cue composition of clinical judgements. Postdoctoral research areas include: advanced practice/ systematic assessment, succession planning in consultant NMAHPs roles, evaluation of education for senior healthcare assistants/ assistant practitioners in early years, critical illness, managing long-term conditions (osteoporosis) and healthcare interventions (moving and handling).

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Member of European Academy of Nursing Science.
  • Member of Editorial Advisory Board and panel of reviewers, Intensive & Critical Care Nursing (Elsevier).
  • Member of RCN.
  • Member of National Osteoporosis Society.
  • Affiliate member of Centre for Applied Social Sciences, QMU.

Professional Social Media:

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

As principal investigator for the Lydia Osteoporosis Project (LOP 2) I am leading an action research and evaluation project focusing on the wider dissemination of research findings from an initial project (LOP 1). In collaboration with NHS colleagues this comprises further refinement and implementation of an online module, a complex education intervention ‘Caring for my bones’. A process evaluation focuses on patients’ experiences of moving and handling in acute care and staff’s views on participating in action research that aims to enhance knowledge and practice in the care of older people with osteoporosis.

As principal investigator for the ‘Lydia Osteoporosis Project’ (LOP 1) at QMU I was responsible for a research, education implementation and dissemination project comprising a multi- methods sequential design with 5 separate studies. In collaboration with specialists in the NHS the overall aim was to raise awareness of osteoporosis and older peoples’ moving and handling needs in acute care. The final dissemination phase of the project included publication of findings to a range of audiences and the development of plans and content for a bespoke interactive website commissioned from an external IT company, please see www.lydiaosteoporosis.com.

Current methodological interests include quantitative (survey style and observational designs), qualitative (case study, descriptive and phenomenological studies), mixed methods and evaluation research. Experienced in undertaking systematic reviews and quantitative and qualitative synthesis of evidence.

Currently I provide supervision for three doctoral research students undertaking qualitative and quantitative projects.

  • Karen Matthews. (Professional Doctorate Student, year 2). A quantitative study using a prospective observational design focusing on the application of a hand-held ‘Fibroscan’ in a community based population of alcohol users. NHS Lothian Research Futures Grant-Holder.
  • Yvonne Greig. (Professional Doctorate Student, year 2). A phenomenological study of community midwives’ consultation practices in obesity in early pregnancy. Self-funding years 1 and 2. Recent successful application for a GNC Grant to cover course fees for year 3.
  • Charles Sinclair (Professional Doctorate Student, year 1). A healthcare improvement project in an acute hospital setting, title and research design to be confirmed this academic year.

Doctoral student completions: 2

Active Research Interests:

  • Managing long-term conditions (osteoporosis), clinical judgement and decision making, patient assessment, healthcare interventions (moving & handling), professional education, critical care and evaluation


Please see my research publications in eResearch – Queen Margaret University’s repository

Research Grants & Contracts Funding:

  • 2016- Principal Investigator Lydia Osteoporosis Project 2 (LOP 2). An Action Research and Evaluation Study focusing on moving and handling practice in the acute care of older people with osteoporosis.* External funding in excess of £90K from a private benefactor.
  • 2011- 2016 Principal Investigator for the Lydia Osteoporosis Project (LOP 1). A research, education, implementation and dissemination project.* External funding of £560,0000 from a private benefactor .
  • 2009 Evaluation of Education Programme for SHSWs and APs in children and young people’s health* Principal Investigator, QMU, Research Funding (£35,000) NHS Education Scotland, Principal Investigator.


Other funding:

  • 2010 Invited external member of Clinical Academic Research Careers Proposal Team for Critical Care practitioners with University of Edinburgh * (Project Lead Dr G Huby).
  • 2008 Evaluation of the Succession Planning Development Pathway for NMAHP Consultants in Scotland Research Assistant, University of Edinburgh. Research Assistant. Lead investigators, Dr G Huby, Dr M McCreaddie.
  • 2008 Patients suffering severe and enduring pain in surgical wards Research Assistant, University of Edinburgh, Lead investigators, Dr J Tocher, Dr S Rodgers. University of Edinburgh Research Futures funding. £5000
  • 2006- 2007 Evaluation of physical assessment training Principal Investigator (Surrey research sites) collaborative project University of Brighton & University of Surrey, CI Professor Julie Scholes. Research funding £49,000 (Skills for Health & S&SSHA)
  • 2004 Nurses’ early recognition of medical patients in transition states from acute to critical illness or cardiac arrest; The cue composition of clinical judgements, unpublished PhD Thesis, EIHMS, University of Surrey. Funding for 1 year data collection (£29,000) from General Nursing Council Trust for England & Wales
  • 1986 British Commonwealth Nurses’ War Memorial Fund Scholarship for 1 year, employed as a Research Assistant undertaking MSc Nursing (Research option), University of Manchester.

Extensive experience in undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral education and research supervision in nursing and professional education in UK higher and further education institutions (University of Manchester, Frances Harrison College of Healthcare in Guildford, University of Surrey and QMU

Experience as programme leader:

  • QMU: Joint programme leader for MSc Professional and Higher Education 2009-2010.
  • Admissions tutor BSc Hons and Graduate Diploma in Nursing 2008-2010.
  • University of Surrey: MSc Advanced Practice, leader of clinical and critical care pathways, 2004- 2007
  • Frances Harrison College of Healthcare: BSc Nursing and ENB Higher Award, 1992-1995, Critical Care Nursing (post registration), 1990-1992.

Modules and programmes I currently teach on:

  • Undergraduate: BSc (Hons) Nursing. Dissertation module NM 4268, year 4.
  • Postgraduate: MSc Person-centred Practice and MSc Professional & Higher Education include: Dissertation module NM 296, Current Issues in Higher Education, NM 234*, N3611, N4278, Managing Clinical Judgements and Decision-making, NM 248*, Advanced Approaches to Patient Assessment 1 NM 291.

*As module coordinator

Doctoral programmes: Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Sciences, Doctoral Supervisor Professional Doctorate in Health Sciences and PhD. Panel member and Chair PhD probationary assessments. Panel member and Chair of final examinations for doctoral awards (as internal and external examiner). Internal examiner Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.

Elsevier Publishers’ Award: Excellence in reviewing, Intensive & Critical Care Nursing (member of Editorial Advisory Board and Panel of reviewers). 2014.