Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Dr Stephen Smith

Senior Lecturer


Stephen trained as a general and mental health nurse and for 15 years worked in the area of palliative care. This involved clinical, research and managerial experience within the voluntary hospice sector as well as working in the National Health Service as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in a hospital palliative care team.

Stephen completed a Bsc in Nursing Studies at Queen Margaret University in 1997, a Masters Degree in Cancer Nursing at the University of Glasgow in 2000 and a PhD at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 2009.

Stephen led a four year action research programme focused on palliative care for people with a dementia. This work formed the basis of Stephen’s PhD study. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and teaching, research and practice improvement activities focus on the development of practice and learning in compassionate care. Stephen led an action research programme; Leadership in Compassionate Care Programme, utilising relationship centred care and appreciative inquiry approaches. The outputs of this programme are being utilised nationally within the UK and internationally. Stephen is a consultant editor on the Journal of Nursing Ethics, and a member of the Editorial Board on the Journal of Compassionate Health Care.

Stephen is a Consultant Nurse in Compassionate Care (NHS Lothian) co-leading a leadership programme in compassionate care practice with multi-professional practitioners from health and social care. Within the School of Health and Social Care Stephen is a lead for Public Engagement and Staff Engagement.

Stephen is passionate about real world research, practice development and learning that directly impacts upon the compassionate care experience of people who use health and social care services, their relatives but also the experiences of multidisciplinary practitioners and care providers.



Conference Activity

  • Member of organisation committee Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and Alzheimer Scotland; Summit: Living and dying well with dementia
  • Scottish Older Peoples Assembly - supported older people to participate in a forum theatre presentation focussed on compassionate care. Through this interactive presentation the work of the leadership in Compassionate Care programme was presented to 250 older people activists.
  • Invited to chair the ‘Goldfish bowl’ discussion at the Compassionate Connections National Conference
  • Chair National Conference at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh: Working together: an event to explore how to better support children and families with learning disabilities. Conference funded by NHS Education for Scotland, 90 participants from health and social care attended from across Scotland.
  • Lead the planning and delivery of three International Conferences on Compassionate Care. These took place in 2010, 2011 & 2012 all at Edinburgh Napier University campuses. More than 500 participants attended from USA, Denmark, New Zealand, Ireland and Portugal.
  • Poster presentation: Realistic and Appreciative: Developing a dual model of evaluation of “Transforming Care After Treatment” in Scotland. Authors Karen Campbell (Associate Professor), Lucy Johnston (Research Fellow), Dr. Stephen Smith (Senior Lecturer) and Brooke Marron (Research Assistant) April 2017. Poster presentation at RCN International Nursing Research conference and exhibition 2017. Oxford, England.


Invited Speaker

  • Title: Creative approaches to delivering person centred health and care. NHS Scotland; Driving Quality Through Innovation National Conference. June 2012. Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow
  • Title: Developing a Culture on Research and Innovation: Compassionate Nursing Programme from Scotland. Lions Home Inaugural Nursing Conference: Innovating Long-Term Care. 26 – 27 March 2015. Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Singapore
  • Title: Masterclass Inspiring compassionate connections for innovative practice. November 2015, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin
  • Title: Leadership in Compassionate Care Nursing. 2012 Care and Compassion Fourth Annual Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Conference for community nurses.
  • Title: Keynote presentation - Sustaining Compassionate Care within Organisations. Compassion Awareness Programme Launch Conference: University of Surrey, University of Brighton and local NHS Trusts 26 September 2014. School of Health Sciences, University
  • Title: Findings from the Evaluation of the Compassionate Connections Learning Resource. Compassionate Connections National Conference. September 2015. Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus.
  • Title: Yellow hats are not just for builders… Improvement lab: Develop a better understanding of emotional labour and the impact it has on the delivery of compassionate care to patients, September 2016 and March 2017, Nicolson Building, University of Birmingham, Birmingham


Editorial Activity

  • Editorial Board of the Journal of Compassionate Health Care
  • Consultant Editor for the journal Nursing Ethics
  • Invitation from the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC) to lead an International Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Compassionate care, (August 2016).


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Expert advisor for a national evaluation; ‘Evaluation of the impact of Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant/Specialist and Dementia Champions in bringing about improvements in dementia care in acute general hospitals in NHS Scotland’
  • Leadership in Compassionate Care Project Reference Group (2008 – 2012) S Smith chaired the project reference group
  • Invited to give evidence at the Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People in London –established by the NHS Confederation, Age UK and the Local Government Association (LGA).
  • Member of a Scottish Government working group focused on professionalism in nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions
  • Invitation to join International Institute for Compassionate Care
  • Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre, Knowledge into Action at Scale Committee
  • invited by the Herald Newspaper to join their judging panel for the 2010 Herald Society Awards
  • Chair - West Lothian Dementia Palliative Care Project Steering Group


Fellowships and Awards

  • Fellow Higher Education Academy
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Student Association Award nomination; Best Academic Support.
  • The Compassionate Connections Learning Resource shortlisted for Royal College of Midwives Annual Midwifery Awards (2015) Research into practice award


Media Activity

  • Endorsement from the president of the Royal College of Midwives Lesley Page Page L (2015) Compassionate Connections: Turning rhetoric into reality British Journal of Midwifery Vol 23, No 10
  • Newspaper article: Linlithgow Gazette, Top caring award for ‘Kirky’ midwife, 5 November 2013
  • Ford, S. (2015) Edinburgh nursing graduate honoured for caring skills. 10 July 2015
  • Pool, E. (2017) What I’m thinking. Royal College Nursing Bulletin. April 2017
  • Nursing Standard (2015) ‘The best nurse I can be’ Two award-winning former students describe an undergraduate course that enhanced their empathy skills Nursing Standard January 7: vol 29 no 19
  • Film production; Forget me not – Living with Alzheimer Disease: funded by the Big Lottery Fund and produced by Artlink
  • Puttick, H. (2016) Scottish researchers: Not all nurses are angels - maybe some should never have entered the profession. The Herald 1 March.
  • Nursing standard article: Project to restore compassion is transforming care, says founder. Black, Steven Vol 22, Issue 48 P.10
  • Tweddel, L. (2007) Compassion on the curriculum. Nursing Times. 103, (38) 18-19


Research Degree External Examining

  • External examiner of two doctoral thesis at Glasgow Caledonian University


Current Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Phd Supervision: Realist evaluation of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in compassionate care