About

Biography

Having graduated as a speech and language therapist in 1995, I practised in a very large teritary teaching hospital in the UK for 18 years, during which time I progressed to Highly Specialist level.  I was the Clinical Lead for acute/general medicine, acute/general surgery, and the large critical care unit and high dependency unit.  The hospital is the major centre in North West UK (outside Manchester) and specialises in Neurology, Neurosurgery, Renal Medicine, Gastrointestinal Tract Imaging and Upper GI Surgery, Cancer treatment and Palliative Care, having approximately 1200 beds spread over one major centre and one smaller hospital in a neighbouring town.

During my clinical career I also undertook various research projects and was speech and language therapy project lead for the North West which culminated in increased funding for Speech and Language Therapy within Critical Care.  In addition, following lengthy mixed retrospective/prospective auditing I was project lead for the creation and organisation of the Practitoner-Led Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study (VFSS) Clinic involving significant collaboration with the Imaging Directorate, Imaging Consultants and the Lead Diagnostic Radiographers to create the Policies/Protocols/Clinical Guidelines to define roles and responsibilities.  This resulted in:

  • Removal of the need for a Consultant Radiologist to be present during the VFSS
  • Stipulation of the requirement for a Consultant Radiologist to be available for consultation in the Imaging Department in the event of obtaining highly abnormal images during the VFSS
  • Increased funding for the VFSS service
  • Increased training at Masters Level (module) for speech and language therapists and diagnostic radiographers
  • Removal of the need for medical referral for VFSS, replaced by speech and language therapist direct referral to Imaging
  • Significantly reduced patient waiting times
    • Inpatients able to access the service within one to two days of referral
    • Outpatients able to access the service within two weeks of referral
  • An increase of approximately 250% more patients per week being able to access the VFSS service
  • Direct joint reporting of the outcome of the VFSS by the lead speech and language therapist and the diagnostic radiographer.
  • Training of other speech and language therapists and signing off Diagnostic Radiographers' clinical practice portolios to enhance their learning following the Masters level course and enable them to complete the investigation independently

While working at the hospital I obtained my Masters Degree from the University of Salford, UK, in 2010 after completing a Transatlantic Comparison of Acute Dysphagia Services, involving travel between the UK and the USA to obtain preliminary data, and completion of a small amount of work in Pittsburgh, USA.  Following this, I transitioned into part time clinical / part time academic work, with positions at the University of Salford (Masters Level), University of Manchester (Undergraduate Level), and also acting as External Examiner for Sheffield Hallam University (Masters Level).  In addition, I completed external research validation of a large randomised control trial involving the use of a particular treatment for dysphagia post-stroke.

I was also approached by the National Health Service (NHS) to create and lead an e-Learning for Health project for all NHS employees.  This project, entitled Imaging Interpretation GI and GU: Videofluoroscopic Interpretation of Swallowing was subsequently created and included a full e-learning program, de-identified x-ray images and examples of videofluoroscopic swallowing studies for participant interpretation.  The e-Learning program was then made available to all NHS Staff with an interest in upper gastrointestinal imaging and deglutition.

Upon relocating to Australia, I am now a Lecturer in Speech Pathology and the Clinical Education Coordinator for the Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) course at JCU.  I teach into second, third and fourth year subjects to prepare and deliver lectures in the area of dysphagia, and also provide lectures for, and enhance clinical learning throughout the six clinical subjects that are embedded within the course.  I also teach into various other subjects as appropriate (both internal to Speech Pathology or external to the course) and supervise Honours research projects.

Collaboration with Anatomy Lecturers and Laboratory Technicians also enables the inclusion of sessions within the anatomy laboratory to enhance student appreciation of the head and neck, particularly within the third year subject SL3002: Swallowing Disabilities Across the Lifespan.  Seeing the 2D image on screen is often sufficient for some students, but viewing the head and neck in 3D in the lab enables students to visualise the structures involved in the biomechanics of swallowing and potential therapy/management techniques in far more detail, which many students report enhances their learning.

Clinical Education

As Clinical Education Coordinator I arrange and oversee all of the internal 2nd and 3rd year clinics, and also arrange the external 4th year clinical subjects and assign students to suitable external placements.  This is either in the on-campus speech pathology clinic at the Clinical Practice Building (Years 2 and 3), or externally within schools, hospitals, NGOs and private practices throughout QLD, and potentially other regions throughout Australia and overseas (Year 4).

Research

My research interests include dysphagia, videofluoroscopic swallowing studies, assessment and treatment of dysphagia in patients with a tracheostomy in-situ, assessment and rehabilitation of dysphagia in critical care, and the ethics of feeding at the end of life.

Major research articles include first authorship of the European Society of Swallowing Disorders White Paper on Bolus Viscosity and the Safety and Efficacy of Swallowing, which so far has received over 250 citations, and various other publications including research articles, book chapters, textbooks, and one DVD.  Three of these publications led to various international presentations at the European Society of Swallowing Disorders (ESSD) Annual Conference in Barcelona, Spain, and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's (ASHA) Annual Conference in New Orleans, USA, with over 10,000 delegates in attendance.

I am currently a Primary Supervisor for two Speech Pathology Honours projects and am always open to supervising more students who have varied interests.  Joint undergraduate supervision (as either Primary or Secondary) is also welcome.

Awards

I obtained a James Cook University Inclusive Practice Award in both 2020 and 2021 after being nominated by unknown individual(s).  This award shows my dedication to working closely with AccessAbility to enable students with a visible and/or hidden disability to strive to work toward obtaining their degree, something for which I am extremely grateful and proud.

Other Academic Duties

Teaching
  • SL2011: Speech Pathology Clinical Processes A (Level 2; TSV)
  • SL2012: Speech Pathology Clinical Processes B (Level 2; TSV)
  • SL3002: Swallowing Disabilities Across the Lifespan (Level 3; TSV)
  • SL3011: Speech Pathology Clinical Processes C (Level 3; TSV)
  • SL3012: Speech Pathology Clinical Processes D (Level 3; TSV)
  • SL4002: Speech Pathology Clinical Processes E (Level 4; TSV)
  • SL4004: Speech Pathology Clinical Processes F (Level 4; TSV)
Interests
Professional
  • Dysphagia; Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Studies; Provision of Speech Pathology in Intensive Care; Dementia; Ethics; Respiratory Medicine; Laryngology; Progressive Neurological Disease;
Teaching
  • Dysphagia; Videofluoroscopy; Ethics of Feeding in End of Life; Respiratory Medicine; Laryngology; Progressive Neurological Disease;
Experience
  • 2013 to present - Lecturer and Clinical Education Coordinator, James Cook University (QLD, Australia)
  • 2011 to 2013 - External Examiner, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)
  • 2010 to 2013 - External Research Validator, Research Institute (Confidentiality Clause Signed) (UK)
  • 2008 to 2013 - Honorary Lecturer, University of Salford (UK)
  • 1995 to 2013 - Speech & Language Therapist / Specialist Speech and Language Therapist / Senior Specialist Speech and Language Therapist / Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Royal Preston Hospital (UK)
  • 2010 to 2012 - Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester (UK)
  • 2010 to 2011 - Research Assistant, University of Salford (UK)
Research Disciplines
Honours
Awards
  • 2021 - Inclusive Practice Award, James Cook University
  • 2020 - Inclusive Practice Award, James Cook University
Memberships
  • 2013 - Certified Practising Member, Speech Pathology Australia
  • 1995 - Certified Member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Other research outputs

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Email
Phone
Location
  • 43.110, Rehabilitation & Exercise Sciences (Townsville campus)
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