Dr Carolyn Roskell PhD, MSc, MCSP, Cert(Ed), DipTP, FHEA

Programme Director MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration)

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Carolyn Roskell is a lecturer in Physiotherapy in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. She is programme director for the MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) programme which offers post-graduate education for those wishing to practise as a physiotherapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.  

Carolyn is committed to providing educational opportunities which enable individuals to maximise their personal and professional potential. She is interested in role and skills development which enhance performance in the workplace and has undertaken research focused on how such role and skills development occur in cardio-respiratory physiotherapy. She has subsequently become interested in evolving professional identity and is exploring optimal conditions for supporting development of professional identity in physiotherapy clinical education. Having an identity which reflects contemporary healthcare need is an ongoing focus with research work continuing in exploring how patient-centred care is understood and addressed in nursing and physiotherapy education.    


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2007
  • PhD in Physiotherapy, University of Birmingham, 2006
  • Registered with the Health Profession’s Council, 2001-
  • MSc in Human Movement Science, University of Liverpool, 1995
  • Certificate in Education, Wolverhampton Polytechnic, 1989
  • Membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Manchester, 1982


Carolyn Roskell qualified as a physiotherapist from Withington Hospital School of Physiotherapy, Manchester in 1982. She worked for a year at St Thomas’ Hospital London before moving to Cape Town, South Africa where she worked for 2 and a half years. Here she ignited her interest in caring for those with cardio-respiratory problems, gaining experience of trauma, critical care, cardiothoracic surgery including transplantation, and chronic medical conditions. Further experience in critical care and surgery was gained in Birmingham before entering physiotherapy education in 1988. An interest in cognitive science, applied to learning, was stimulated during study for an MSc in Human Movement Science, which was completed in 1995 leading to research and publications in ‘Attention limitation and learning in physiotherapy’ and ‘Clinical reasoning in professional development’.

Ongoing interest in teaching and learning approaches saw involvement in the introduction of innovative approaches to learning in the BSc (hons) Physiotherapy programme, including inter-professional learning and problem-based learning. Further research was undertaken for PhD examining how physiotherapists developed their roles and skills in cardio-respiratory care which was widely disseminated at professional, national and international conferences and through professional publications. Outcomes of this work prompted a critical examination of the professional identity of physiotherapy and a consideration of whether it was evolving in line with contemporary healthcare need, particularly whether physiotherapy was essentially ‘patient-centred’. Work advancing innovations in the curriculum, in terms of preparing students for patient-centred care, have been developed such as the introduction of community-based volunteering placements with disadvantaged minority groups, and facilitating service user involvement in the curriculum. Research work is ongoing which seeks to evaluate the impact of such innovations.        


Postgraduate supervision

Carolyn is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Patient-centred care
  • Professional identity
  • Professional socialisation
  • Professional development and educational interventions for healthcare practitioners

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Carolyn on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.   



Qualitative research; Education for healthcare practitioners 


Research interests focus on the professional development of healthcare professionals at both pre-registration and post-registration stages. Previous studies of post-registration physiotherapists have included an exploration of the professional identity of cardio-respiratory physiotherapy. Current work is exploring the education of undergraduate nursing and physiotherapy students to deliver patient-centred care. Further work has begun exploring whether there is a relationship between physiotherapy clinical placement type and quality of clinical education.


Hole E, Stubbs B, Roskell C, Soundy A (2014) "The patient’s experience of the psychosocial process that influences identity following stroke rehabilitation: a meta-ethnography," The Scientific World Journal, In Press Volume 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/349151

Soundy A, Roskell C, Stubbs B, Vancampfort D,  (2013)  Selection, Use and Psychometric Properties of Physical Activity Measures to Assess Individuals with Severe Mental Illness; a Narrative Synthesis, Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, In Press

Williams R, Hewison A, Wildman S, Roskell C (2013) “I think being a real man… is every ability to be able to communicate”. Changing fatherhood: an exploratory qualitative study with African and African Caribbean men in England. Children and Society, 27:2 Pages 92-103

Roskell CA (2013) An exploration of the professional identity embedded within UK cardio-respiratory physiotherapy curricula, Physiotherapy. 99:2, 132–8

Roskell, C. (2013) Being a health professional: More than just getting the job done, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 20(5): 225

Soundy, A., Roskell, C, Smith,B. (2013) Have you become an artificial person?, Editorial, Physiotherapy (On line) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2013.04.004

Roskell C, White D, Bonner C (2012). Developing patient-centred care in health professionals: Reflections on introducing Service-Learning into the curriculum. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 19:8, 448-56

Rosewilliam S, Roskell CA, Pandyan AD (2011). A systematic review and synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative evidence behind patient-centred goal setting in stroke rehabilitation, Clinical Rehabilitation, 25:6, 501-14

Roskell, C.A. (2009), Patient-centred practice in physiotherapy: Linking professional identity and learning, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 16: 246-7

Roskell, C.A., Cross, V. (2003), Student perceptions of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, Physiotherapy, 89: 2-12 

Roskell, C.A., Cross, V. (2001), Defining expertise in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy, British Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 8: 294-299

Case, K., Harrison, K., Roskell, C. (2000), Differences in the clinical reasoning process of expert and novice cardiorespiratory physiotherapists, Physiotherapy, 86: 14-21

Roskell, C.A., Hewison, A., Wildman, S. (1998), The theory-practice gap and physiotherapy in the UK: Insights from the nursing experience,  Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 14: 223-233 

Roskell, C.A., Cross, V. (1998), Attention limitation and learning in physiotherapy, Physiotherapy, 84: 118-125

Roskell, C.A., (1998), Clinical reasoning in physiotherapy development, British Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 5: 60-61

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