Dr Susan Neilson PhD, MSc, BSc(Hons), DPSN DN, RSCN, RGN, PGCLTHE

Dr Susan Neilson

School of Nursing and Midwifery
Associate Professor

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Sue Neilson is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.  She is a qualitative methodologist, her research focusing on, but not exclusive to, children and young people’s palliative and end of life care and bereavement support.  

Sue’s work also has a strong focus on education standard frameworks.


  • Post-Graduate Certificate Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 2017.
  • Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing, 2010.
  • PhD Paediatric palliative care, 2009.
  • MSc Cancer Care, 1998.
  • BSc (Hons) Health Studies, 1995.
  • DPSN DN Professional Studies: District Nursing, 1993.
  • RSCN, 1988.
  • RGN, 1983.


Sue Neilson has an extensive clinical nursing background in paediatric oncology and holds an honorary contract with the palliative care team at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Sue has undertaken research examining palliative, end of life and bereavement care for children and young people in both hospital and community settings. Her work to date has focused on the experiences of the child/young person, family and health professional. 




Principles of palliative care for children and young people

Sue also contributes to other modules in the areas of palliative, end of life, bereavement care and research methods.

Postgraduate supervision

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

  • Palliative and end of life care
  • Bereavement support
  • Nursing
  • Research using qualitative methodology

If you are interested in studying in any of these subject areas please contact Sue on the contact details above or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk


Research themes

  • Health care professionals experience of palliative care.
  • Children and young people’s palliative and end of life care.
  • Bereavement support.
  • Qualitative methodology.

Research Activity

Children and young people’s palliative, end of life and bereavement care.

The main emphasis of Sue’s work has been in paediatric palliative and end of life care. Areas have included health professional’s experiences of providing palliative care to children and young people in the family home and exploring the role of the GP in paediatric palliative and end of care and bereavement support.

Other activities

  • End of Life Research Programme, School of Nursing, University of Birmingham.
  • Birmingham Woman’s and Children’s Hospital Research Foundation Scientific Committee
  • Birmingham Woman’s and Children’s Hospital Palliative and Bereavement Research Interest Group (Chair).
  • West Midland Paediatric Palliative Care Network Research sub-group (Co-vice chair).
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals Research Group (NMAHPS).


Recent publications


Abdin, S, Heath, G, Neilson, S, Byron-Daniel, J & Hooper, N 2022, 'Decision-making experiences of health professionals in withdrawing treatment for children and young people: a qualitative study', Child: Care, Health & Development, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 531-543. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12956

Newham, R, Hewison, A, Neilson, S & Afoko, V 2022, 'Moral distress experienced by neonatal intensive and paediatric care nurses in northern Ghana: a qualitative study', Journal of Research in Nursing, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 519-529. https://doi.org/10.1177/17449871221122022

Neilson, S, Randall, D, Mcnamara, K & Downing, J 2021, 'Children's Palliative care education and training: developing an education standard framework and audit', BMC Medical Education, vol. 21, 539. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02982-4

Bradbury, M, O'Brien, C, Giles, N, Fenton, S, Neilson, S & Duda, JL 2021, 'Sedentary behaviour in non-ambulant children and young people with physical disabilities: a systematic search and review protocol', BMJ open, vol. 11, no. 12, e053077. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-053077

Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Greenfield, S, Neilson, S, English, M, Adamski, J & Peet, A 2021, 'The role of Magnetic Resonance Images (MRIs) in coping for patients with brain tumours and their parents: a qualitative study', BMC Cancer, vol. 21, no. 1, 1013 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-021-08673-z

Reeves, AL, Nyatanga, B & Neilson, S 2021, 'Transforming empathy to empathetic practice amongst nursing and drama students', Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre , vol. 2021, no. 2, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2021.1876556

Neilson, SJ, Gibson, F & Greenfield, SM 2020, 'Bereavement support after the death of a child with cancer: implications for practice', Bereavement Care, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 12-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/02682621.2020.1728094

Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Greenfield, S, Neilson, S, Adamski, J, Beardsmore, S, English, M & Peet, A 2020, 'Exploring the role of ‘shadowing’ as a beneficial preparatory step for sensitive qualitative research with children and young people with serious health conditions', Societies, vol. 10, no. 1, 14. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010014

Tyldesley-Marshall, N, Greenfield, S, Neilson, S, English, M, Adamski, J & Peet, A 2019, 'Qualitative study: patients’ and parents’ views on brain tumour MRIs', Archives of Disease in Childhood. https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2019-317306

Neilson, S & Reeves, A 2019, 'The use of a theatre workshop in developing effective communication in paediatric end of life care', Nurse Education in Practice, vol. 36, pp. 7-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2019.02.014

Neilson, S & Reeves, A 2018, ''Don't talk like that: It's not just what you say but how you say it': The process of developing an applied theatre performance to teach undergraduate nursing students communication skills around paediatric end-of-life care', Journal of Applied Arts and Health, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 99. https://doi.org/10.1386/jaah.9.1.99_1


Neilson, S 2019, 'Developmentally appropriate social and mental health support could improve quality of life for children receiving cancer treatment', Evidence Based Nursing, vol. 22, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.1136/ebnurs-2018-102992

Neilson, S 2019, 'Using draw-and-tell methods to inform clinical nursing assessments with children aged 6-12 years', Evidence Based Nursing, vol. 22, no. 4. https://doi.org/10.1136/ebnurs-2018-102951

Literature review

Afoko, V, Newham, R, Neilson, S & Hewison, A 2023, 'Moral Distress in Nurses in Developing Economies: An Integrative Literature Review', Journal of Research in Nursing.

Other contribution

Neilson, S & Mcnamara, K 2019, Paediatric palliative care learning in the UK: summary of a national meeting. ehospice. <https://ehospice.com/inter_childrens_posts/paediatric-palliative-care-learning-in-the-uk-summary-of-a-national-meeting/>

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