Dr Hilary Gunn
Associate Professor in Physiotherapy
School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)
Lecturer in Physiotherapy at both undergaduate and postgraduate levels and Physiotherapy placement co-ordinator. I am particularly involved with teaching of neurology, but also have expertise in other areas of clinical practice, including elderly care and falls management. I am clinical placement co-ordinator for the course. Alongside my teaching work I am actively involved in research, and completed my PhD in April 2015. My topic area is an investigation into accidental falls in multiple sclerosis. .
I gained my Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy from the Queen Elizabeth School of Physiotherapy, Birmingham in 1990. Following this I spent two years completing a rotational post where I gained clinical experience in a variety of settings covering the range of 'core' specialities in physiotherapy practice. My first senior post was specialising in medical respiratory care, including cardiac and respiratory rehabilitation proframmes, as well as working with patients in the acute stages following stroke and other neurological problems.
Subsequently I moved onto other posts with a greater focus on rehabilitation of patients with neurological disability and multi-pathology associated with ageing. I spent time working in an in-patient neuro-rehabilitation unit, then moved into a post working as a core member of a multi-disciplinary community rehabilitaion team which specialised in the assessment and management of people with long term conditions (predominantly neurology) and complex needs. My most recent clinical post (2002-2005) was working as a locality lead physiotherapist, where I carried day-to day responsibility for the running of the physiotherapy service, as well as maintaining a clinical case load working with older clients, as both in-patients and in the community
I was appointed to teach on the Physiotherapy undergraduate degree in 2005, and have also been invoved with programme admissions. I completed my MSc in Clinical Education, Peninsula Postgraduate Health Institute in 2007, and aim to continue to develop my research and teaching skills, whilst maintaining my clinical expertise and currency.
In 2015 I completed my PhD (Health Studies) with the submission of a thesis relating to accidental falls in MS
Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists 1990 - present
Health and Care Professions Council 1990- present
Association of Physiotherapists Interested in Neurology 1995 - present
I enjoy being involved with the ongoing delivery and development of the undergraduate physiotherapy programme, particularly with the focus on the PBL approach. This allows me to utilise a variety of teaching methods and approaches, with a blend of the academic and practical work. We have previously currently undertaken a research project sponsored by CEPPL which evaluated the clinicians' perceptions of the pbl approach in clinical practice. The work makes an excellent link between my placement-related and teaching activities, and complements the ongoing programme development that we are all committed to.
I am closely involved with the teaching of the adult neurology and elderly care elements of the course at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. This includes relevant patho-physiology, anatomy, and related theory as well as ensuring that the management side of our work remains current and evidence based. The close links between this aspect of my work and my current research activity is extremely valuable in his context.
Educational research was an interest of mine for some time. My MSc dissertation introduced me to the practicalities of carrying out qualitative research looking into the evaluation, application and effects of CPD in qualified physiotherapists. I have subsequently undertaken a project as part of the University of Plymouth CEPPL evaluating educator perceptions of PBL trained physiotherapy students on practice placements. This work was in collaboration with other members of the Physiotherapy programme team, and we hope to continue to develop in this area in the future as a staff group
My current research is in the field of accidental falls in multiple sclerosis. This has included a systematic review and primary research study evaluating the risk factors for falls in this group. As a result of this work we are in the process of developing a number of international collaborations, as well as maintaining and developing strong inks with local service providers and service users
Grants & contracts
Vice Chancellor's Community Research Award (2013) £9932. Exploring the challenges for people with MS in living with severe impairment. (Co-applicant) Physiotherapy Research Foundation (2011) £19915 ‘An investigation of the risk factors for falls in people with MS’ (Lead Applicant) CEPPL Innvoations Fund (2009) £6820 ‘An exploration of clinical educators' perceptions of Physiotherapy students who are studying on a Problem Based Learning (PBL) undergraduate programme’ (Lead Applicant)
Key publications are highlightedJournals