Current PhD Students

Billy Bryan


Alongside my PhD I am actively involved in Post-Graduate representation on a faculty and University level. I am the co-chair of the MPGS (medical school postgraduate society) and sit on the Student’s Union council as the postgraduate research councillor. I also regularly undertake roles in tutoring, facilitation, and work for the careers service.

I am also enrolled on the Certificate for Learning and Teaching course (CiLT) and aim to attain HEA accreditation as a result. I have a background in higher education research, funded by QESS (quality enhancement support scheme), and an undergraduate degree in sports science.

Current project

The effects of a novel feedback intervention using self-regulated learning methods on medical undergraduate’s learning strategies in clinical skills teaching.


The purpose of my study is to explore the impact of a novel clinical skills teaching intervention on medical undergraduate student's skills performance and future learning strategies. Using self-regulated learning (SRL) theory as the underlying theoretical framework, students will be given feedback on their clinical skills performance using a technique called microanalysis (targeted questioning at key time points).

A mixed methodology design will be used to collect and analyse the data; including a questionnaire, microanalytic techniques, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews. I have chosen this approach as I can collect performance and learning strategy data using rigorous methods, on the other hand, I can also provide ‘thick description’ to these findings and explore how feedback changes student’s approaches to future learning.

This research will contribute new knowledge to the field by discovering how students perceive and use feedback for future learning. This research will also explore whether feedback informed by SRL methods improves performance and learning strategies as opposed to usual best practice feedback. I hope that this project will provide a pathway for other investigators to study the long-term impacts of feedback on learning strategies in medical teaching contexts.

What makes me passionate about my project?

I believe higher education offers many individuals the opportunity to independently shape their future. It is an integral part of personal development and provides many with new perspectives on the wider world. I think the positive relationships formed between students and teachers are crucial to academic achievement and life-long learning. Feedback is always a major component in these relationships, I believe feedback interactions develop an educational alliance between students and teachers. This, in my view, is how education should be for everyone, my research allows me to directly explore this concept.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I hope to continue my research and further explore its findings as a post-doctoral researcher in the short term. In the longer term, I want to lecture in education and become a research fellow to continue to explore how institutions and teachers can facilitate life-long learning in higher education.

Helen Church


I am originally from Chesterfield and attended The University of Sheffield Medical School to achieve my medical degree between 2005-2010. I then started my clinical work as an Academic Foundation Trainee, where I worked within the Academic Unit of Medical Education at Sheffield to further my interest and skills in teaching medical students at all stages of their course. I then obtained a specialty training post in Anaesthetics and Critical Care, where I completed the first part of my Anaesthetics post-graduate examinations (Primary FRCA). I am now taking a break from training to pursue my interest in Academia by undertaking a PhD in Medical Education. During this time, I am also maintaining my clinical skills as a Clinical Fellow at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Current Project

My PhD project is based around the learning theories of self-regulation and metacognition, and using these we hope to design a unique concept of training for postgraduate doctors to align with the busy and demanding tasks surrounding care of acutely unwell patients. This research will hopefully yield improved self-regulation in the clinical environment and, as such, will have a direct impact on patient care in the acute setting. This conceptual model will be implementable for hospital trusts and foundation schools and we are optimistic that it will, in part, shape post-graduate training in the future.


My academic achievements to date include a poster presentation on Prescribing Teaching for Undergraduate Students at a regional conference (2012) and a Workshop presentation at the national ASME (The Association for the Study of Medical Education) Conference on Leadership and Management Skills in Undergraduates (2012). I am attending another national conference, ASPIH (The Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare), in November 2015 to deliver an oral presentation describing the current spread of methodologies used in Medical Education research.

PhD Student Felicity Reeves

Felicity Reeves

Felicity (Reeves) Fletcher BMBS, MRCS, BMedSci (Hons), PG certificate Medical education, PG certificate Clinical leadership, FHEA


I am an ST6 Urology Registrar. I completed a PG certificate in medical Education September 2012, a Simulation and Leadership fellowship in Yorkshire March 2014, where I gained knowledge and skills with regards to the technical and educational facilitative aspects of high fidelity simulation.

Currently I am in Year 3 of my PhD and a Clinical Lecturer post (0.4 FTE) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). I am Simulation lead, patient safety lead at UEA, a personal advisor to 7 advisee medical students, a PBL tutor, I examine in OSCEs, interview and develop OSCE questions.

Current project

Exploring the impact of a simulation based educational intervention (IMASS: Integrated Medical and Surgical Simulation course) on 5th year medical students’ confidence as a marker or readiness to engage with Foundation Year 1(FY1)

Medical undergraduates express low confidence about their preparedness for Foundation Programme. I have designed, delivered then explored the impact of a simulation based intervention using the 19 domains set out by the Foundation programme curriculum and Tomorrows’ Doctors, on 5th year medical student’s confidence as a surrogate marker of preparedness. It is a mixed methods study including focus groups with medical students and qualitative interviews with education and/ or simulation experts with regards to preparedness for practice and simulation.

Practical importance of project

My overall aim is to understand why and how simulation could be used in the undergraduate curriculum to train junior doctors in terms of added value and educational theory. This will allow me to create best practice guidance that can be applied nationally.


  • Poster Presentation of quantitative data and focus group outcomes at Year 2 Sheffield Research meeting 16/6/2015
  • Contributor to Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare national guidelines for simulated practice October 2015 – Invited to be part of round table discussion with regards to these standards at ASPiH national conference 3-5th November 2015 Brighton
  • Poster presentation of quantitative data and focus group outcomes at Developing Excellence in medical Education conference 25-26th November 2015
  • Planned manuscript submission of primary data March 2016

Future Plans

I plan to go back in to Urological surgical training in October 2016 on completion of my PhD. I aim to build on my educational research in simulation and hope to supervise medical educational research in the future in an ongoing clinical lecturer post.

PhD student Anna Greer

Anna Greer

Life before my PhD

I gained my BDS from the University of Dundee Dental School in 2010 and then worked in general dental practice and the hospital service in Aberdeen, before moving to hospital posts in Manchester and Blackburn. In 2014, I began specialty training (StR post) in Restorative Dentistry at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield.

Current Project

My current project is looking at dentists’ use of social media – specifically what patients think about dentists’ use of social media and the current guidelines in relation to this.

Practical Importance of the Project

Professional behaviour is a pivotal part of the dentist-patient relationship and currently there is a lack of consensus over what constitutes professional behaviour on social media. Existing guidelines are vague and open to interpretation. This research aims to gain a clearer understanding of what patients expect in terms of online behaviour so that dental students and dentists can be guided accordingly.


I have presented posters at a number of national and international conferences including the Association of Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) Conference in 2013 and EuroPerio 8 in 2015. I was awarded Highly Commended Poster Prize at the 2015 Specialty Registrars in Restorative Dentistry Group Conference. Other prizes include:
2013 – British Society of Periodontology, Audit Award
2012 – British Society of Prosthodontics, New Graduate Prize
2009 – Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow, Elective Prize