Professor Ruth Taylor

Senior Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

Location: Cambridge

Ruth’s key areas of expertise relate to the enhancement of the student experience, leadership for healthcare practice, and the culture of healthcare. She has a track record of successful leadership in higher education.

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Ruth has worked in the higher education sector since 1998 following a successful career in clinical practice. She was awarded a professorship in 2012. She's been engaged in national work streams arising, in part, from her own research on the student experience. She's currently engaged in research that aims to contribute to an understanding of organisational culture and the factors that impact on the delivery of quality care.

Ruth was awarded a prestigious Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership scholarship which enabled her to undertake intensive leadership development which, in part, has enabled her to take forward the role of PVC and Dean.

Research interests

  • The student experience including: student retention, the first year experience and student success.
  • Compassion in healthcare practice, particularly with a focus on student nurses as developing compassionate healthcare professionals.
  • The culture of healthcare practice.
  • Leadership in healthcare practice, including student nurses as leaders.
  • Social capital in relation to: student learning, the student experience, and leadership.

Ruth’s expertise extends across a range of areas, all of which are focused on improving the patient / student experiences. Her research on the first year experience of student nurses was influential in national (Scottish) policy to improve retention of students. Further research has explored the selection processes used within nursing and midwifery pre-registration education. Current research activity centres on the ways in which organisational culture impacts on care, the quality of healthcare (with a focus on the policy drivers, eg person-centred care), and the ways in which professional development (through the use of scholarships) can impact on practice.

Areas of research supervision

Ruth would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • The student experience, including the retention of students
  • Student nurses as leaders in healthcare practice
  • The development of compassion in healthcare students

Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:

  • An ethnography of breastfeeding preterm infants in two neonatal intensive care units in Jordan (2013)
  • An exploration of the determinants of successful community maternity units: A case study approach (2015)
  • The culture of healthcare and the impact on nursing practice (current)
  • The role of supernumerary sisters and their impact on practice (current)


Ruth undertakes keynotes for students in relation to leadership, networking, and research.


  • PhD in nursing education, Robert Gordon University
  • MSc Nursing, Manchester University (Royal College of Nursing)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Level Teaching, Robert Gordon University
  • BSc (Hons) Nursing, Abertay University Dundee
  • ENB 237 (oncology nursing), Royal Marsden Hospital
  • Registered Nursing, Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member of the Board of Governors of Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Editorial Board, Primary Healthcare Journal
  • International Advisory Board, Nurse Education Today
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Council of Deans of Health UK
  • Elected Member of the Executive Team for the Council of Deans of Health – Workforce and Leadership portfolio
  • Member of the LETB, Health Education East of England
  • Member of Million+ Health and Social Care
  • Member of Phi Mu Chapter England

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Evaluation of the Florence Nightingale Foundation Research and Travel Scholarships (Co-investigator)
  • Evaluation of face-to-face interviewing and related selection processes as valid and reliable selection tools for the recruitment of student nurses and midwives (Principle Investigator)
  • A structured evaluation of the introduction of a student review record in three Scottish Schools of Nursing and Midwifery (Co-applicant)
  • A structured evaluation of selection processes and related outcomes for pre-registration nursing (Co-applicant)
  • A sustainable rural midwifery model: Scottish Government Development Fund, Malawi Development Programme (Co-applicant)
  • Workforce Destination Project
  • Making compassion explicit in undergraduate nursing curricula’: Nurses’ Memorial Foundation of South Australia
  • ‘Hiding in plain sight: Building community social capital in distance education graduate programmes: An international study’

Selected recent publications

Recent peer-reviewed articles

Hoffmeyer, A., Toffoli, L., Vernon, R., Taylor, R., Fontaine, D., Klopper, H. and and Coetzee, S. 2016 (in press) Teaching the practice of compassion to nursing students within an online learning environment: A qualitative study protocol. Contemporary Issues in Education Research

Macduff, C., Taylor, R. and Stephen, A. 2016 Decision precision or holistic heuristic: Insights on onsite selection processes of student nurses and midwives. Nurse Education in Practice. 29(41), 36-40.

Hoffmeyer, A., Scheingold, B. and Taylor, R. 2015 Do you understand what I mean? How cognitive interviewing can strengthen valid, reliable study instruments and dissemination products. Journal of International Education Research. 11(4), 261-268. DOI:

Baillie, L. and Taylor, R. 2015. The ripple effect: personal scholarships and impact on practice development. International Practice Development Journal. 5(1), 1-20. ISSN 2040-9292.

Taylor, R. and Thomas-Gregory, A. 2014 Case study research for nursing and healthcare practice. Nursing Standard.

Taylor, R., Macduff, C. and Stephen, A. 2014. A national study of selection processes for student nurses and midwives. Nurse Education Today. 34, 1155-1160.

Taylor, R. and Thomas-Gregory, A. 2014 (in press). Case study research for nursing and healthcare practice. Nursing Standard.

Taylor, R. 2013. Networking in primary healthcare: Making connections to increase social capital. Primary Health Care, 10, 34-40.

Adam, D. and Taylor, R. 2013. Compassionate care: Empowering students through nurse education. Nurse Education Today, published online 26th August 2013.

Baillie, L., Taylor, R., Giordanno, R., Robb, E. and Peake, J. 2013. Evaluating the impact of scholarships. Nursing Times, 109, 24-25.

Taylor, R. and Martindale, S. 2013 (2013) Clinical leadership in primary health care. Primary Health Care, 23(5), 32-36.

Sabin, M., Tilley, C. and Taylor, R. 2012. Untangling a complex issue: an overview of initiatives to support nursing and midwifery student recruitment, selection and retention in Scottish universities. Nurse Education Today. 32 (4), 469-474

Recent books and chapters

Taylor, R. (Editor) 2013. Essentials of Nursing and Health Care Research. London: SAGE.

Taylor, R. and Brannan, J. 2014. Interprofessional Practice In: J. Lishman, C. Yuill, J. Brannan and A. Gibson (Editors). Social Work: An Introduction. London: SAGE.

Taylor, R. and Banks, D. 2014. Owning your own standards of care In: S. Reading and B. Webster. Achieving competencies for nursing practice: A handbook for student nurses. London: Open University Press.

Recent presentations and conferences

Hofmeyer, A., Toffoli L., Vernon, R., Taylor, R., Fontaine, D., Klopper, H. & Coetzee, S. 2016. ‘Practicing compassion: Educating nursing students to improve patient safety and healthcare outcomes,’ 6th International Nurse Education Conference, NETNEP 3-6 April 2016 Brisbane, QLD Australia

Hofmeyer A., Toffoli, L., Vernon, R., Taylor, R., Fontaine, D., Klopper, H. & Coetzee, S. 2016. ‘Self-compassion: the key ingredient in teaching the practice of compassion to nursing students’, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) International Nursing Research Conference

Scheingold, B., Taylor et al., 2014. A social capital toolkit to achieve productive capacity and nursing renewal worldwide. RCN International Research Conference, Glasgow.

Macduff, C., Stephen, A. and Taylor, R., 2014. Decision precision versus holistic heuristic: insights on onsite selection of student nurses. RCN International Research Conference, Glasgow.

Macduff, C., Taylor, R., Stephen, A., Baguley, F. and Mackenzie, J., 2014. Evaluating the impact of selection strategies: overcoming methodological challenges on recent local and national projects. Research and Innovation in Recruitment and Retention of Pre-registration Nursing and Midwifery Students Conference, Edinburgh.

Taylor, R. 2013. Putting people at the heart of nursing: The place of leadership in education. Sigma Theta Thau International conference.

Taylor, R., Macduff, C., Stephen, A., Bird, J. and Dray, B. 2013. Enhancing the student experience through the development of an evidence-base for the selection of student nurses. 24th International Networking Conference for Healthcare Education Conference (NET2013).

Webster, B., Tee, S. and Taylor, R. 2013. Clinical Academic Careers – A United Kingdom Approach. Global Alliance for Leadership in Nursing Education and Science. Melbourne Australia.

Taylor, R. and Stenhouse, R. 2012. Nursing and Midwifery student recruitment, selection and retention in Scotland. Promoting Retention in Healthcare Programmes conference, Council of Deans. London.

Taylor, R., Webster, B., Humphrey, T. and Macduff, C. 2012. What and who is Higher Education for?: Researching the selection of student nurses and midwives. Society for Research into Higher Education. Newport.

Baguley, F., Macduff, C., Taylor, R. and Mackenzie, J., 2012. Fit students? Fit selection process?: One Scottish HEI’s evaluation of selection processes and related outcomes for pre-registration nursing. Enhancing Nursing Through Educational Research: Inaugural Conference. Stirling.

Sabin, M., Taylor, R. and Tilley, C. 2012. A strategic approach to supporting nursing and midwifery student recruitment, selection and retention in Scottish universities. NET (Networking for Education in Healthcare) conference. Cambridge, UK.

Sabin, M. and Taylor, R. 2012. Untangling a complex issue: Collaborative working to support nursing and midwifery recruitment, selection and retention in Scotland. NETNEP 2012: Changing the landscape for nursing and healthcare education – evidence-based innovation, policy and practice. Baltimore, USA.

Media experience

Some live radio experience