Dr Johanna Spiers

Dr Johanna Spiers

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Johanna is a qualitative health researcher who is currently exploring the impact on, and support needs of, NHS staff following a colleague’s suicide.


  • PhD in Health Psychology, 2015
  • BSc in Psychology, 2009
  • BA in Creative Arts, 1998


Johanna uses qualitative methods to explore health psychology topics. Recently, her work has focused on the mental health and wellbeing of caregivers and physicians, including GPs and junior doctors. She has also conducted work which investigates what it is like to live with various mental and physical illnesses, including end-stage renal failure and HIV.

Johanna is passionate about qualitative methods, particularly interpretative phenomenological analysis and thematic analysis.


Research interests

• The mental health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals

• The experience of living with and being treated for end-stage renal failure

• Adherence to HIV medication

• Living with an ileostomy

• Qualitative methods

Current projects

Identifying the impact on and support needs of NHS staff following a colleague's suicide: A study to inform postvention guidance, with Dr Ruth Riley and Dr Hilary Causer

Other activities

  • Owns and runs Post-Graduate Proof-Reader, a proofreading and feedback service which specalises in helping postgrad qualitative students
  • PhD supervisor
  • Previously helped to edit the QMiP Bulletin


Riley, R., Spiers, J., Gordon, V. PreScribed (A Life Written for Me): A Theatrical Qualitative Research-Based Performance Script Informed by General Practitioners’ Experiences of Emotional Distress. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20, 1609406921999188.

Spiers, J., Smith, J.A., Ferrer Duch, M., Moldovan, R., Roche, J., Macleod, R. (2020) Evaluating a genetic counselling narrative session for people with a mutation positive HD result: An interpretative phenomenological analysis.  Journal of Genetic Counselling, 29(6), 1015-1025.

Maynard, E., Pycroft, A., Spiers, J. (2019) “They say ‘yes, I’m doing it… and I’m fine’”: The lived experience of supporting teenagers who misuse drugs. Journal of Social Work Practice, 1-15.

Spiers, J., Riley, R. (2018). Analysing one dataset with two qualitative methods: The distress of General Practitioners, a thematic AND interpretative phenomenological analysis. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 16(2), 276-290.

Spiers, J., Buszewicz, M., Chew-Graham, C.A., Riley, R. (2018). The experiences of GP partners living with distress: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Health Psychology. Early online: 1359105318758860

Riley, R., Spiers, J., Chew-Graham, C.A., Taylor, A., Thornton, G. & Buszewicz, M. (2018). Sources of Stress and Distress in General Practitioners: A Qualitative Study. BMJ open, 8(1), e017361

Riley, R., Spiers, J., Chew-Graham, C.A., Taylor, A., Thornton, G. & Buszewicz, M. (2018). ‘Treading water but drowning slowly’: GPs’ experiences of living and working with mental illness and distress – a qualitative study. BMJ open, 8(5), e018620

Spiers, J., Buszewicz, M., Chew-Graham, C., Gerada, C., Kessler, D., Leggett, N., Manning, C., Taylor, A., Thornton, G. & Riley, R. (2017). Barriers, facilitators, and survival strategies for GPs seeking treatment for distress: a qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice, 67(663), e700-e708.

Spiers, J., Nicholls, A.R., Simpson, P. (2017) Evaluation of an online educational tool designed to reduce stress and boost well-being for people living with an ileostomy: A framework analysis. International Journal of Applied Psychology, (7)1, 10-18.

Nicholls, A.R., Spiers, J., Simpson, P. (2016) The effects of an online educational tool on psychological well-being, optimism, and coping self-efficacy among people with Ileostomies. International Journal of Applied Psychology, (6)5, 156-161. 

Smith, J.A., Spiers, J., Simpson, P. & Nicholls, A.R. (2016) The psychological challenges of living with an ileostomy: an interpretative phenomenological analysis.Health Psychology, 36(2), 143.

Spiers, J., Smith, J.A., Simpson, P. & Nicholls, A.R. (2016) The treatment experiences of people living with ileostomies: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, (72)11, 2662-2671.  

Spiers, J., Smith, J.A., Poliquin, E., Anderson, J. & Horne, R. (2016) The experience of antiretroviral treatment for Black West African women who are HIV positive and living in London: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Aids and Behavior, (20)9, 2151-2163. 

Spiers, J., & Smith, J.A. (2016) Waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 21(7), 836-844.

Spiers, J., Smith, J.A. & Drage, M. (2016). A longitudinal interpretative phenomenological analysis of the process of kidney recipients’ resolution of complex ambiguities within relationships with their living donors. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(11), 2600-2611.

Spiers, J. & Smith, J.A. (2012). Using autobiographical poetry as data to investigate the experience of living with end-stage renal disease: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Creative Approaches to Research, 5(2), 119-137.


Spiers, J., Buszewicz, M., Chew-Graham, C., Gerada, C., Kessler, D., Leggett, N., Manning, C., Taylor, A., Thornton, G. & Riley, R. (2016). Who cares for the clinicians? The mental health crisis in the GP workforce. British Journal of General Practice, 66(648), 344-345.

Books & Book Chapters

Spiers, J. & Smith, J.A., (2019). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In P. A. Atkinson, A. Cernat, S. Delamont, J. W. Sakshaug, R. A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE Research Methods Foundations.

Spiers, J. & Smith, J.A. (2015). Using autobiographical poetry as data to investigate the experience of living with end-stage renal disease: interpretative phenomenological analysis. In Galvin, T and Prendergast, M (Eds.) Poetic Inquiry II: Seeing, Understanding, Caring. Subtitle: Using Poetry as and for Inquiry Creative Approaches to Research. Sense Publishing, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Online articles and resources

Spiers, J. & Riley, R. (2017) GP partnerships: Sailing into the future, or sinking into obscurity? BJGP Blog, http://bjgpblog.com/2017/01/24/gp-partnerships-sinking-into-obscurity-or-sailing-into-the-future/

Spiers, J. (2016) How research is helping with GP wellbeing and informing performance at Feel It Festival, BJGP Blog, http://bjgpblog.com/2016/10/18/performance-informed-by-research-into-gp-wellbeing/

Spiers, J. (2016) GP stress: New study aims to help improve access to support, GPOnline http://www.gponline.com/gp-stress-new-study-aims-help-improve-access-support/article/1384837

Spiers, J. & Smith, J.A. (2016)An interpretative phenomenological analysis of interview data: People on the renal waiting list consider deceased v living donors, SAGE dataset http://methods.sagepub.com/dataset/ipa-donors

View all publications in research portal

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities