Lesley  Dibley

Dr Lesley Dibley PhD, MPhil, BSC (Hons) Nursing, PGCE, RNT, RSCN, RGN

Reader in Nursing Research and Education

Key details

Dr Lesley Dibley
PhD, MPhil, BSC (Hons) Nursing, PGCE, RNT, RSCN, RGN

Reader in Nursing Research and Education

Lesley has been in post as Reader in Nursing Research and Education since May 2017. Prior to this, she worked as Research Fellow to Professor Christine Norton at King's College London for nine years, during which time she was awarded her PhD for a hermeneutic phenomenology study of the experience of stigma in people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Lesley trained originally as a Registered General Nurse, and later as a Sick Children's Nurse, in the 1980s. Following several years in sick children's nursing practice, and with a growing interest in how children and families live well with chronic illnesses, Lesley moved into nurse education as senior lecturer in Children's Nursing. Her interest in research developed during these years, and she became a fulltime researcher in 2008, with a preference for qualitative research, particularly that informed by interpretive (hermeneutic) phenomenology.

Lesley's work explores the everyday experiences of living with chronic illnesses. She has a notable body of work relating to living with IBD and is developing research trajectories in epilepsy and idiopathic scoliosis. In 2019, Lesley was the University's research pioneer via the Made@Uni initiative, bringing the work of researchers who make a direct difference to people's lives, into public knowledge. She is regularly invited to speak at conferences and clinical training events, and has over 30 publications in high impact journals.

Posts held previously:

  • 2016-2017: Lecturer in Adult Nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, King's College, London: teaching, deputy module leadership
  • 2012 - 2016: Research Fellow, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, King's College London: research funding applications, project design and management
  • 2010 – 2014: PhD student (concurrent with full-time work)
  • 2010-2012: Research fellow, Faculty of Society & Health, Bucks New University, Uxbridge; research funding applications, project design and management
  • 2008 - 2010: Research fellow, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, King's College London: research funding applications, project design and management
  • 2003 - 2008: Career break 
  • 2003 - 2005: *Bank staff nurse (night duty): neonatal and children's services, James Paget Hospital, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk 
  • 2002 - 2003: Senior Lecturer (Children's Nursing): Suffolk College, Ipswich, Suffolk
  • 1995 -2002: Lecturer (Children's Nursing): Suffolk College, Ipswich, Suffolk
  • 1987 - 1995: Four clinical posts: adult medicine, adult surgery, paediatric nurse training, senior paediatric staff nurse

Responsibilities within the university

As Reader in Nursing Research and Education, Lesley's role is focused on engaging other university research and teaching colleagues with research, whilst collaborating with external agencies such as local NHS Trusts, and specialist charities to build partnerships for delivering clinical research which will make a difference to patient's lives.

Lesley teaches qualitative methodologies, particularly hermeneutic phenomenology, at Masters and Doctoral level, and is currently supervising two Masters and four PhD students. She is also Centre Lead for the Centre for Chronic Illness and Ageing, in the Institute for Life-course Development, where she provides oversight, mentoring and steer to the research and practice profile of the Centre and its members.


  • Registered with the NMC
  • Peer reviewer for several journals including World Journal of Gastroenterology, European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Gastrointestinal Nursing, Global Qualitative Health Research, Qualitative Health research, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Sociology of Health & Illness
  • Member of Research leads Network, Council of Deans of Health, London
  • Outgoing member of CARIN (Clinical Academic Researchers in Nursing)

Research / Scholarly interests

Research interests focus on the everyday experiences of living with chronic illness – particularly IBD, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy and idiopathic scoliosis, and the factors which influence and support adjustment; family experiences when a relative has a chronic illness; qualitative methodologies, especially interpretive (hermeneutic) phenomenology.

Other scholarly interests include the philosophy of Heidegger's phenomenology and the research methodology that has developed from it; leading a team of four co-authors writing a practical guide to doing phenomenology research.

Key funded projects

June 2019 – May 2020: Exploring Experiences of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) amongst Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Patients – A Mixed-Method Scoping Study. Funded by Bowel and Cancer Research (£50,000; joint lead applicant).

Nov 2018 – Oct 2023: Living well with inflammatory bowel disease: optimizing management of symptoms of fatigue, abdominal pain, and faecal urgency / incontinence via tailored online self-management (IBD-BOOST). Funded by NIHR PGfAR (£2,050,153; co-applicant, qualitative lead).

Apr 2015 – Sept. 2016: Bowel dysfunction in multiple sclerosis: a qualitative study; funded by the MS Society; (£101,000; co-applicant).

Mar 2015 – Dec 2016: Anticipations and realities of living with a stoma for IBD. Funded by Crohn's & Colitis UK; (£48,741.45; lead applicant).

Recent publications


Dibley, Lesley , Hart, Ailsa, Duncan, Julie, Knowles, Charles H , Kerry, Sally M , Lanz, D , Madurasinghe, V , Wade, Tiffany , Terry, Helen , Verjee, Azmina (2020), Clinician administered and self-report survey both effective for identifying fecal incontinence in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Springer. In: , , , . Springer, Digestive Diseases and Sciences ISSN: 0163-2116 (Print), 1573-2568 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-020-06418-9) Inpress NB Item availability restricted.

Younge, Lisa , Sufi, Halima, Dibley, Lesley (2020), Regular clinical supervision to enhance wellbeing in inflammatory bowel disease specialist nurses: a small pilot study, Mark Allen Healthcare. In: , , , . Mark Allen Healthcare, Gastrointestinal Nursing pp. 36-42 ISSN: 1479-5248 (Print), 2052-2835 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2020.18.3.36) Published NB Item availability restricted.

De Jesus, Hilarious , Ooms, Ann, Norton, Christine, Dibley, Lesley , Croft, Nicholas (2019), Development of self-management in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: a qualitative exploration, SciEdu. In: , , , . SciEdu, Journal of Nursing Education and Practice pp. 75-84 ISSN: 1925-4040 (Print), 1925-4059 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v9n11p75) Published.

Dibley, Lesley , Williams, Ellen, Young, Patricia (2019), When family don’t acknowledge: a hermeneutic study of the experience of kinship stigma in community-dwelling people with inflammatory bowel disease, SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Qualitative Health Research ISSN: 1049-7323 (Print), 1552-7557 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732319831795) Published.

Dibley, Lesley and , (2019), Getting involved in research: a four-step approach for gastrointestinal nurses, Mark Allen Healthcare. In: , , , . Mark Allen Healthcare, Gastrointestinal Nursing pp. 20-22 ISSN: 1479-5248 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2019.17.2.20) Published.

Kemp, Karen , Dibley, Lesley, Chauhan, Usha, Greveson, Kay , Jaghult, Susanna , Ashton, Katherine , Buckton, Stephanie , Duncan, Julie , Hartmann, Petra , Ipenburg, Nienke (2018), 2nd N-ECCO consensus statements on the European nursing roles in caring for patients with Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, Oxford University Press (OUP). In: , , , . Oxford University Press (OUP), Journal of Crohn's & Colitis pp. 760-776 ISSN: 1873-9946 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjy020) Published.