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Research at St Andrews

Anita Helen Laidlaw


Anita Helen Laidlaw
Postal address:
School of Medicine
Medical & Biological Sciences
North Haugh
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463561

Research overview

I have two main areas of research, which significantly overlap; healthcare communication and higher education research. This work draws on psychological, organisational and educational theory.

Healthcare communication:

I investigate factors that influence communication within a healthcare setting and enhance the translation of this research by examining how to improve clinical communication training for health professionals. The emphasis is on developing patient centred clinical communication, which should improve patient outcomes. Examples of projects within this area include:

  • Detailed observational research into discussion of weight management within routine primary care consultations.
  • Exploration of the utilisation and impact of empathy maps within undergraduate medical education from the perspectives of students and patient partners.

Higher education research:

I also have an interest in higher education research, including medical education research. This work focuses on student and professional wellbeing, both physical and mental and factors that may influence both wellbeing and help seeking behaviour for wellbeing difficulties. Examples of projects within this area include:

  • Understanding teh experiences of higher education students with long term conditions
  • Burnout and health behaviours in Medical students.
  • Education focused academic career pathways
  • Wellbeing of Doctors during Covid-19 transitions

I employ various research approaches to studying these topics depending on the specific aims. These include detailed coding of video recorded clinical communication behaviour, questionnaire data collection to gain broader understanding of relationships between factors, and qualitative approaches such as interview or focus group to provide rich understanding on relatively unexplored aspects. Throughout my research I am aware of the social environment that human interactions occur within.

PhD research projects available

healthcare communication training, higher education student wellbeing, medical student wellbeing, health professional wellbeing, medical education

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