Lesley  Dibley

Professor Lesley Dibley PhD, MPhil, BSC (Hons) Nursing, PGCE, RNT, RSCN, RG

Professor of Qualitative Nursing Research

Key details

Professor Lesley Dibley

Professor of Qualitative Nursing Research

Lesley joined the University of Greenwich in May 2017, adding her expertise as a qualitative researcher to the skills and knowledge base of her colleagues. 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. 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 the attention of the public. She also won the University’s ‘Outstanding Achievements in Research Award’ in 2019 for her body of work related to IBD. Lesley is regularly invited to speak at conferences and clinical training events and has over 40 publications in high impact journals.

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 a new research trajectory in idiopathic scoliosis. Recently, she has started exploring the experiences and impact of people who are ageing with a chronic illness, specifically the details of the interface between chronic illness and normal ageing. She champions user involvement in research and encourages research capacity and capability by inviting clinical nurses onto her research teams, which focus on delivering research which will make a difference to patients’ lives.

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

  • Leads the Centre for Chronic Illness and Ageing
  • Member of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee
  • Member of the Faculty Research and Enterprise Committee
  • Member of the Institute for Lifecourse Development peer review Panel


  • 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 the ILD Advisory Board
  • Member of the UKRI Future Leader Fellowships peer review college
  • Incoming member of the Grants Review Panel for Bowel Research UK
  • Delivered the opening and closing keynotes (online) at the Gastroenterological Nurses College of Australia GENCA) Conference, Gold Coast, Brisbane, 28th-30th May 2021

Research / Scholarly interests

Lesley’s research interests focus on the everyday experiences of living with chronic illness – particularly IBD 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. Scholarly interests include the philosophy of Heidegger’s phenomenology and the research methodology that has developed from it; Lesley has led an international team of four co-authors in writing a practical guide to doing phenomenology research for Sage, published in 2020. Lesley also teaches qualitative methodologies to undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students. Lesley has supervised numerous Masters students and three PhD students to completion; she currently is supervising two Masters and four PhD students, and welcomes enquiries from potential students seeking to pursue a PhD exploring any aspect of chronic illness, using hermeneutic phenomenology. Current opportunities include studies to explore the experience of chronic pain in people with idiopathic scoliosis, and the experience of ageing with IBD.

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


Kemp, Karen , Duncan, Julie, Mason, Isobel, Younge, Lisa , Dibley, Lesley (2022), Scoping review with textual narrative synthesis of the literature reporting stress and burn-out in specialist nurses: making the case for inflammatory bowel disease nurse specialists. BMJ Publishing Group. In: , , , . BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ Open Gastroenterology, 9: e000852 (1) 2054-4774 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgast-2021-000852).

Essex, Ryan , Bruce, Gemma, Dibley, Molly, Newton, Paul , Thompson, Trevor , Swaine, Ian , Dibley, Lesley (2022), A systematic scoping review and textual narrative synthesis of the qualitative evidence related to adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, International Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing, 45: 100921 ISSN: 1878-1241 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijotn.2022.100921).

Ahmed, Salina , Newton, Paul D., Ojo, Omorogieva, Dibley, Lesley (2021), Experiences of ethnic minority patients who are living with a primary chronic bowel condition: a systematic scoping review with narrative synthesis. BMC. In: , , , . BMC, BMC Gastroenterology, 21: 322 1471-230X (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-021-01857-8).

Fawson, Sophie , Dibley, Lesley, Smith, Kaylee, Batista, Joanna , Artom, Micol , Windgassen, Sula , Syred, Jonathan , Moss-Morris, Rona , Norton, Christine (2021), Developing an online programme for self-management of fatigue, pain and urgency in inflammatory bowel disease: patients’ needs and wants. Springer. In: , , , . Springer, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 67 (7) . pp. 2813-2826 ISSN: 0163-2116 (Print), 1573-2568 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-021-07109-9).

Avery, Pearl , Younge, Lisa, Dibley, Lesley, Segal, Jonathan (2021), Inflammatory bowel disease advice lines during the COVID-19 pandemic: a retrospective service evaluation. Mark Allen Healthcare Ltd. In: , , , . Mark Allen Healthcare Ltd, Gastrointestinal Nursing, 19 (3) . pp. 38-49 ISSN: 1479-5248 (Print), 2052-2835 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2021.19.3.38).

Essex, Ryan , Bruce, Gemma, Dibley, Molly, Newton, Paul , Dibley, Lesley (2021), A systematic scoping review and textual narrative synthesis of long-term health-related quality of life outcomes for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, International Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing, 40: 100844 ISSN: 1878-1241 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijotn.2021.100844).

Adegbola, Samuel O , Dibley, Lesley, Sahnan, Kapil, Wade, Tiffany , Verjee, Azmina , Sawyer, Rachel , Mannick, Sameer , McCluskey, Damian , Bassett, Paul , Yassin, Nuha (2020), Development and initial psychometric validation of a patient reported outcome measure for Crohn’s perianal fistula – the Crohn’s Anal Fistula Quality of Life (CAF-QoL) scale. BMJ Publishing Group. In: , , , . BMJ Publishing Group, Gut, 70 (9) . pp. 1649-1656 ISSN: 0017-5749 (Print), 1468-3288 (Online) (doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2019-320553).

Dibley, Lesley , Khoshoba, Bernadette, Artom, Micol, Van Loo, Victoria , Sweeney, Louise , Syred, Jonathan , Windgassen, Sula , Moffatt, Georgia , Norton, Christine , IBD-BOOST PPI team (2020), Patient strategies for managing the vicious cycle of fatigue, pain, and urgency in inflammatory bowel disease: impact, planning and support. Springer. In: , , , . Springer, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 66 (10) . pp. 3330-3342 ISSN: 0163-2116 (Print), 1573-2568 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-020-06698-1).

Essex, Ryan , Cucos, Mihaela, Dibley, Lesley (2020), The impact of language and ethnicity on preparation for endoscopy: A prospective audit of an East London hospital ward. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 27 (4) . pp. 877-884 ISSN: 1356-1294 (Print), 1365-2753 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13490).

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, 66 (6) . pp. 2024-2031 ISSN: 0163-2116 (Print), 1573-2568 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-020-06418-9).

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, 18 (3) . pp. 36-42 ISSN: 1479-5248 (Print), 2052-2835 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2020.18.3.36).

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, 9 (11) . pp. 75-84 ISSN: 1925-4040 (Print), 1925-4059 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v9n11p75).

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).

Dibley, Lesley and , (2019), Getting involved in research: a four-step approach for gastrointestinal nurses. Mark Allen Healthcare. In: , , , . Mark Allen Healthcare, Gastrointestinal Nursing, 17 (2) . pp. 20-22 ISSN: 1479-5248 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2019.17.2.20).

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, 12 (7) . pp. 760-776 ISSN: 1873-9946 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjy020).

Dibley, Lesley , Czuber-Dochan, Wladyslawa, Wade, Tiffany, Duncan, Julie , Burch, Jennie , Warusavitarne, Janindra , Norton, Christine , Artom, Micol , O'Sullivan, Liam , Verjee, Azmina (2018), Patient decision-making about emergency and planned stoma surgery for IBD: a qualitative exploration of patient and clinician perspectives. Oxford University Press. In: , , , . Oxford University Press, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 24 (2) . pp. 235-246 ISSN: 1078-0998 (Print), 1536-4844 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ibd/izx043).

Dibley, Lesley , Norton, Christine, Whitehead, Elizabeth (2017), The experience of stigma in inflammatory bowel disease: an interpretive (hermeneutic) phenomenological study. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74 (4) . pp. 838-851 ISSN: 0309-2402 (Print), 1365-2648 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.13492).

Dibley, Lesley , Coggrave, Maureen, McClurg, Doreen, Woodward, Sue , Norton, Christine (2017), "It's just horrible": a qualitative study of patients' and carers' experiences of bowel dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. In: , , , . Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Journal of Neurology, 264 (7) . pp. 1354-1361 ISSN: 0340-5354 (Print), 1432-1459 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-017-8527-7).

Dimidi, Eirini , Dibley, Lesley, Cotterill, Nikki, Scott, Mark , Whelan, Kevin , Knowles, Chjarles , Norton, Christine (2016), Validated constipation symptom and quality-of-life measures neither reflect patient and clinician concerns nor use words familiar to patients. Mark Allen Healthcare. In: , , , . Mark Allen Healthcare, Gastrointestinal Nursing, 14 (8) . pp. 29-38 ISSN: 1479-5248 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2016.14.8.29) NB Item availability restricted.

Dibley, Lesley , Bager, Palle, Czuber-Dochan, Wladyslawa, Farrell, Dawn , Jeslness-Jorgensen, Lars-Petter , Kemp, Karen , Norton, Christine (2016), Identification of research priorities for Inflammatory Bowel Disease nursing in Europe: a Nurses-European Crohn’s & Colitis Organisation Delphi survey. Oxford University Press. In: , , , . Oxford University Press, Journal of Crohn's & Colitis, 11 (3) . pp. 353-359 ISSN: 1873-9946 (Print), 1876-4479 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjw164).

Woodward, Sue , Dibley, Lesley, Coombes, Sarah, Bellamy, Andrew , Clark, Callum , Czuber-Dochan, Wladzia , Everelm, Leslie , Kutner, Sandra , Sturt, Jackie , Norton, Christine (2016), Identifying disease-specific distress in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Mark Allen Healthcare. In: , , , . Mark Allen Healthcare, British Journal of Nursing, 25 (12) . pp. 649-660 ISSN: 0966-0461 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2016.25.12.649) NB Item availability restricted.

Dibley, Lesley , Norton, Christine, Cotterill, Nikki, Bassett, Paul (2016), Development and initial validation of a disease-specific bowel continence questionnaire for inflammatory bowel disease patients: the ICIQ-IBD. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. In: , , , . Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc, European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 28 (2) . pp. 233-239 ISSN: 0954-691X (Print), 1473-5687 (Online) (doi: http://journals.lww.com/eurojgh/Abstract/2016/02000/Development_and_initial_validation_of_a.18.aspx) NB Item availability restricted.

Norton, Christine , Dibley, Lesley B., Hart, Ailsa, Duncan, Julie , Emmanuel, Anton , Knowles, Charles H. , Stevens, Natasha , Terry, Helen , Verjee, Azmina , Kerry, Sally (2015), Faecal incontinence intervention study (FINS): self-management booklet information with or without nurse support to improve continence in people with inflammatory bowel disease: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BioMed Central. In: , , , . BioMed Central, Trials, 16: 444 . pp. 1-9 1745-6215 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-015-0962-0).


Dibley, Lesley , Dickerson, Suzanne, Duffy, Mel, Vandermause, Roxanne (2020), Doing hermeneutic phenomenological research: a practical guide. SAGE Publications Ltd. In: , , , . SAGE Publications Ltd, London. UK (1st) . ISBN: 9781526485724 (doi: https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/doing-hermeneutic-phenomenological-research/book266607).

Book section

Dibley, Lesley and , (2022), Seeking Heidegger in research data: thinking about connections between philosophy and findings. Routledge. In: , , In: Susan Crowther, Gill Thomson (eds.), Hermeneutic Phenomenology in Health and Social Care Research. Routledge, London . pp. 93-109 . ISBN: 9781003081661 (doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003081661-6) NB Item availability restricted.

Conference item

Dibley, Lesley and , (2021), Getting involved: leading the way for gastrointestinal nursing research. In: Gastrointestinal Nurses’ Congress of Australia (GENCA) conference, 28th-30th May 2021, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Australia (delivered online) , . , (doi: https://www.genca.org/education/2021-national-conference-/program/).

Dibley, Lesley and , (2021), Reflection, resilience, reset: overcoming obstacles to grow a nursing research career. In: Gastrointestinal Nurses’ Congress of Australia (GENCA) conference, 28-30th May 2021, Gold Coast, Brsibane, Australia (delivered online) , . , (doi: ).