Professor Maureen Coombs

Professor Maureen Coombs

Professor in Clinical Nursing

School of Nursing and Midwifery (Faculty of Health: Medicine, Dentistry and Human Sciences)


Clinical academic nurse with expertise in end-of-life care and critical care. 



During her extensive health care career, Maureen (Mo) has held senior clinical practice, service management and academic roles. Mo’s clinical practice with long term chronically critically ill patients has directed her research platform on end of life with a focus on developing compassionate family-centred care and developing workforce capacity in end-of life care for acute and critical care.

She is internationally recognised for her work relating to end-of-life care and critical care. Mo is an editorial board member of several international peers reviewed journals. She has published widely in journals and text books and presented extensively across the world. 

Mo has recently returned to the UK after holding the post of Professor in Clinical nursing (Critical Care) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (NZ). Her recent service to community includes: member of the Clinical Ethics Group at Wellington Regional Hospital (NZ); member of the Health Quality and Safety Commission’s Deteriorating Patient Programme Expert Advisory Group (NZ); and member of an international taskforce developing family-centred care guidelines for the Society of Critical Care Medicine (USA). 



General Nurse Professional Registration, New Zealand Nursing Council  

Independent Nurse Prescriber, Nursing and midwifery Council  

Registered Nurse Teacher, Nursing and Midwifery Council, UK 

Intensive (100) and Coronary Care Nursing (124) courses, English National Board  

Registered General Nurse, Nursing and Midwifery Council, UK  


Educational Qualifications: 

Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods, Kings College University, London, UK 

Diploma in Coaching, Institute of Management and Leadership, UK 

PhD in Nursing Studies, Oxford Brookes University, UK 

MSc in Education, South Bank University, UK 

BSc (Hons) Professional Studies in Nursing, Bournemouth University, UK 


Professional membership 

Royal College Nursing 

British Association of Critical Care Nurses 

New Zealand College of Nurses (2012-2018) 

Professional membership

Royal College Nursing 

British Association of Critical Care Nurses 

New Zealand College of Nurses (2012-2018) 

Roles on external bodies


of Health Quality and Safety Commission Expert Advisory Group, Deteriorating Patient Programme, Wellington, NZ 

Member of Expert Working Party, American Society of Critical Care Medicine on family centred practice. 

Member of National Advanced Care Planning Co-operative, New Zealand  

Editorial Board member: Australian Critical Care, Nursing in Critical Care 

Peer research reviewer: NIHR UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care UK, Burdett for Nursing, HRC New Zealand, HRC Singapore 

Peer academic reviewer: International Journal of Nursing Studies, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, Palliative Medicine 

Teaching interests

Advanced health assessment 

Advancing nursing practice and nursing roles  

End of life care practices 

Building research capability through Masters’ and doctoral supervision 

Staff serving as external examiners

Examiner for PhD theses at the following Universities:

Auckland University of Technology, NZ

Massey University, NZ

University of Cape Town, South Africa 

University of Auckland, NZ 

University of Southampton, UK 

Queensland University of Technology, Australia 

Bournemouth University, UK 

Examiner PhD Salford University, UK

Research interests

Patient and family perceptions and experiences at end of life 

End-of-life care practices and decision-making  

Family-centred care in critical care 

Transitions of care at end of life 

Key publications are highlighted

Morton KE, Richardson A, Coombs MA & Darlington AS 2019 'Transferring critically ill babies and children home to die from intensive care' Nursing in Critical Care , DOI PEARL
Wailing J, Robinson B & Coombs MA 2018 'Surveillance, anticipation and firefighting in hospital: Perspectives of patient safety from a New Zealand case study' Journal of Nursing Management , DOI PEARL
Latour J & Coombs M 2018 'Family-Centred Care in the Intensive Care Unit: More than just flexible visiting hours' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing PEARL
Egerod I, Kaldan G, Coombs M & Mitchell M 2017 'Family-centered bereavement practices in Danish intensive care units: a cross-sectional national survey' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 45, 52-57 , DOI PEARL
Latour JM & Coombs M 2017 'Family-centred care in Intensive Care: Moving the evidence forward—A call for papers' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Davidson JE, Nunnally ME, Wickline MA & Curtis JR 2017 'Using Qualitative Research to Inform Development of Professional Guidelines' Critical Care Medicine 45, (8) 1352-1358 , DOI PEARL
Mitchell M, Coombs M & Wetzig K 2017 'The provision of family-centred intensive care bereavement support in Australia and New Zealand: Results of a cross sectional explorative descriptive survey' Australian Critical Care 30, (3) 139-144 , DOI PEARL
Hales C, Coombs M & de Vries K 2017 'The challenges in caring for morbidly obese patients in Intensive Care: A focused ethnographic study' Australian Critical Care 31, (1) 37-41 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M, Mitchell M, James S & Wetzig K 2017 'Intensive care bereavement practices across New Zealand and Australian intensive care units: a qualitative content analysis' Journal of Clinical Nursing 26, (19-20) 2944-2952 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA 2017 'Concerns about care and communication are key causes of moral distress in intensive care staff' Australian Critical Care 30, (2) 107-108 , DOI PEARL
Davidson JE, Aslakson RA, Long AC, Puntillo KA, Kross EK, Hart J, Cox CE, Wunsch H, Wickline MA & Nunnally ME 2017 'Guidelines for Family-Centered Care in the Neonatal, Pediatric, and Adult ICU' Critical Care Medicine 45, (1) 103-128 , DOI PEARL
Rook H & Coombs M 2016 'Giving voice to optimism and hope for the future of nursing' Collegian , DOI PEARL
Bloomer MJ, Endacott R, Ranse K & Coombs MA 2016 'Navigating communication with families during withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in intensive care: a qualitative descriptive study in Australia and New Zealand' Journal of Clinical Nursing , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Parker R & de Vries K 2016 'Managing risk during care transitions when approaching end of life: A qualitative study of patients’ and health care professionals’ decision making' Palliative Medicine 31, (7) 617-624 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Parker R, Ranse K, Endacott R & Bloomer MJ 2016 'An integrative review of how families are prepared for, and supported during withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in intensive care' Journal of Advanced Nursing 73, (1) 39-55 , DOI PEARL
Ranse K, Bloomer M, Coombs M & Endacott R 2016 'Family centred care before and during life-sustaining treatment withdrawal in intensive care: A survey of information provided to families by Australasian critical care nurses' Australian Critical Care 29, (4) 210-216 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Parker R & de Vries K 2016 'Can qualitative interviews have benefits for participants in end-of-life care research?' European Journal of Palliative Care 23, (5) 227-231 PEARL
Coombs MA 2016 'Treatment withdrawal, allow a natural death, passive euthanasia: a care-full choice of words' Nursing in Critical Care 21, (4) 193-194 , DOI PEARL
Parker R, deVries K & Coombs MA 2016 'Redefining the patient-carer model at end of life' International Journal of Palliative Nursing 22, (6) 272-277 , DOI PEARL
Hales C, de Vries K & Coombs M 2016 'Managing social awkwardness when caring for morbidly obese patients in intensive care: A focused ethnography' International Journal of Nursing Studies 58, 82-89 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M, Ayley W, Pickthorne J & Larkin P 2016 'Bringing ‘something more’ to the bedside: the importance of clinical wisdom at end of life' International Journal of Palliative Nursing 22, (4) 161-162 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA & Meyer EC 2016 'Tending to everyday and BIG conversations in teaching and practice' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 33, 3-4 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M, Tang J & Long-Sutehall T 2016 'Vigilant attentiveness in families observing deterioration in the dying intensive care patient: A secondary analysis study' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 33, 65-71 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Nelson K, Psirides AJ, Suter N & Pedersen A 2016 'Characteristics and Dying Trajectories of Adult Hospital Patients from Acute Care Wards who Die following review by the Rapid Response Team' Anaesthesia and Intensive Care 44, (2) 262-269 , DOI PEARL
McLean C, Coombs M & Gobbi M 2016 'Talking about persons – Thinking about patients: An ethnographic study in critical care' International Journal of Nursing Studies 54, 122-131 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Darlington A-SE, Long-Sutehall T, Pattison N & Richardson A 2015 'Transferring patients home to die: what is the potential population in UK critical care units?' BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 7, (1) 98-101 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M 2015 'The 'everyday' ethics of critical care' Nurs N Z 21, (7) Author Site PEARL
Coombs M, Fulbrook P, Donovan S, Tester R & deVries K 2015 'Certainty and uncertainty about end of life care nursing practices in New Zealand Intensive Care Units: A mixed methods study' Australian Critical Care 28, (2) 82-86 , DOI PEARL
Bion J & Coombs M 2015 'Balancing cure with comfort: Palliative care in critical care' Palliative Medicine 29, (4) 288-290 , DOI PEARL
Coombs MA, Darlington A-S, Long-Sutehall T & Richardson A 2015 'Transferring critically ill patients home to die: developing a clinical guidance document' Nursing in Critical Care 20, (5) 264-270 , DOI PEARL
Darlington A-SE, Long-Sutehall T, Richardson A & Coombs MA 2015 'A national survey exploring views and experience of health professionals about transferring patients from critical care home to die' Palliative Medicine 29, (4) 363-370 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M, Long-Sutehall T, Darlington A-S & Richardson A 2014 'Doctors’ and nurses’ views and experience of transferring patients from critical care home to die: A qualitative exploratory study' Palliative Medicine 29, (4) 354-362 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M 2014 'The mourning after: The potential for critical care nurses to improve family outcome and experience in end of life care' Australian Critical Care 27, (4) 155-156 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M 2014 'Followership: the forgotten part of leadership in end-of-life care' Nursing in Critical Care 19, (6) 268-269 , DOI PEARL
Pedersen A, Psirides A & Coombs M 2014 'Models and activities of critical care outreach in New Zealand hospitals: results of a national census' Nursing in Critical Care 21, (4) 233-242 , DOI PEARL
Coombs M 2013 'Yes, but how do I know what I don't know? Moving towards conscious competence in end-of-life care' Nursing in Critical Care 18, (5) 217-218 , DOI
Coombs M, Latter S & Richardson A 2012 'Developing a clinical academic career pathway for nursing' British Journal of Nursing 21, (18) 1084-1090 , DOI
Tellett L, Pyle L & Coombs M 2012 'End of life in intensive care: Is transfer home an alternative?' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 28, (4) 234-241 , DOI
Coombs MA, Addington-Hall J & Long-Sutehall T 2012 'Challenges in transition from intervention to end of life care in intensive care: A qualitative study' International Journal of Nursing Studies 49, (5) 519-527 , DOI
Long-Sutehall T, Willis H, Palmer R, Ugboma D, Addington-Hall J & Coombs M 2011 'Negotiated dying: A grounded theory of how nurses shape withdrawal of treatment in hospital critical care units' International Journal of Nursing Studies 48, (12) 1466-1474 , DOI
Quirke S, Coombs M & McEldowney R 2011 'Suboptimal care of the acutely unwell ward patient: a concept analysis' Journal of Advanced Nursing 67, (8) 1834-1845 , DOI
Shannon SE, Long-Sutehall T & Coombs M 2011 'Conversations in end-of-life care: communication tools for critical care practitioners' Nursing in Critical Care 16, (3) 124-130 , DOI
Coombs MA 2010 'The mourning before: can anticipatory grief theory inform family care in adult intensive care?' International Journal of Palliative Nursing 16, (12) 580-584 , DOI
Coombs M, Long-Sutehall T & Shannon S 2010 'International dialogue on end of life: challenges in the UK and USA' Nursing in Critical Care 15, (5) 234-240 , DOI
Coombs M 2010 'In times of great change, there is also great consistency' Nursing in Critical Care 15, (1) 4-5 , DOI
Coombs M 2009 'Notes on critical care—Review of seminal management and leadership papers in the United Kingdom' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 25, (3) 128-132 , DOI
Coombs M 2008 'Critical care nurses ground down? No way, more like freshly ground' Southern African Journal of Critical Care 24, (2) 42-44
2008 'Care to remember? Why it’s just common sense' Nursing in Critical Care 13, (5) 223-224 , DOI
Coombs M & Long T 2008 'Managing a good death in critical care: can health policy help?' Nursing in Critical Care 13, (4) 208-214 , DOI
Dawson D & Coombs M 2008 'The current role of the consultant nurse in critical care: Consolidation or consternation?' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 24, (3) 187-196 , DOI
Coombs M 2007 'Cocaine-induced myocardial infarction' Nursing in Critical Care 12, (4) 176-180 , DOI
Coombs M, Chaboyer W & Sole ML 2007 'Advanced Nursing Roles in Critical Care—A Natural or Forced Evolution?' Journal of Professional Nursing 23, (2) 83-90 , DOI
Coombs M & Lattimer V 2007 'Safety, effectiveness and costs of different models of organising care for critically ill patients: Literature review' International Journal of Nursing Studies 44, (1) 115-129 , DOI
Coombs M 2006 'Managing today's reality of delivering critical care nursing' Nursing in Critical Care 11, (5) 216-217 , DOI
Coombs M 2005 'Using ‘soft solutions’ to meet today's hard challenges in critical care' Australian Critical Care 18, (1) 4-5 , DOI
Coombs M & Ersser SJ 2004 'Medical hegemony in decision-making - a barrier to interdisciplinary working in intensive care?' Journal of Advanced Nursing 46, (3) 245-252 , DOI
Coombs M 2003 'Power and conflict in intensive care clinical decision making' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 19, (3) 125-135 , DOI
Coombs MA & Moorse SE 2002 'Physical assessment skills: a developing dimension of clinical nursing practice' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 18, (4) 200-210 , DOI
COOMBS M & DILLON ANN 2002 'Crossing boundaries, re-defining care: the role of the critical care outreach team' Journal of Clinical Nursing 11, (3) 387-393 , DOI
Coombs M 2002 'Critical care outreach: short-term measure or long-term solution?' Nursing in critical care 7, (3) 109-110
Coombs M 2001 'Making sense of arterial blood gases' Nursing times 97, (27) 36-38
Coombs M 1999 'The challenge facing critical care nurses in the UK: a personal perspective' Nursing in critical care 4, (2) 81-84
Coombs M 1993 'Haemodynamic profiles and the critical care nurse' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 9, (1) 11-16 , DOI
Coombs M 1993 'Ventricular assist devices for the failing heart: a nursing focus' Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 9, (1) 17-23 , DOI
Coombs M 1991 'Motivational strategies for intensive care nurses' Intensive Care Nursing 7, (2) 114-119 , DOI
Coombs MA 2004 Power and Conflict Between Doctors and Nurses. Routledge , DOI
Coombs M & Woods M 2017 'Organ Donation Practices and End-of-life Care: Unusual Bedfellows or Comfortable Companions?' Bioethics Beyond Altruism Springer International Publishing 239-263 , DOI
Conference Papers
Coombs M, Puntillo KA, Franck LS, Scruth EA, Harvey MA, Swoboda SM & Davidson JE 2017 'Implementing the SCCM Family-Centered Care Guidelines in Critical Care Nursing Practice' 138-147 , DOI PEARL
Bloomer M, Coombs M, Ranse K & Endacott R 2016 'How nurses prepare families for treatment withdrawal in intensive care: Results of an Australasian survey' Elsevier 112-112 , DOI PEARL
Mitchell M, Coombs M, James MS & Wetzig MK 2016 'The intensive care bereavement follow-up service 10 years on: Results of a New Zealand and Australian Survey' Elsevier BV 116-116 , DOI PEARL