Prof Christine HallettPhD


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Research interests

Professor Christine Hallett has been a Research Lead at the University of Manchester since 2003.  Her programme of research focuses on the study of nursing practice and its relationship to cultural and social trends.  Her earliest work explored the dilemmas created by the implementation of educational reform in nursing, through the Diploma in Professional Studies (more commonly known as ‘Project 2000’) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  She went on to study the implementation of nursing practice in both palliative care and general community nursing settings.  Her work offered insight into the invisibility of nursing care, focussing on those elements of nursing that could not be captured through ‘measurement instruments’, were not amenable to classical mathematical metrics and were therefore vulnerable within the target-based culture of the turn-of-the-century NHS.

Most recently, Christine has specialised in the study of Nursing History, developing innovative approaches within the discipline.  Her emphasis on the history of practice has widened the scope of a field which had, formerly, confined itself largely to institutional and professional histories.  Her first monograph, Containing Trauma: Nursing Work in the First World War(Manchester University Press, 2009) provided a groundbreaking approach, by offering both a global history and a new emphasis on nursing work, exploring the synergy between clinical practice and the development of professional identity.  Her First World War: New Perspectives (edited jointly with Alison Fell) (London, Routledge, 2013) extended the focus of this work, encompassing a broad-ranging cultural emphasis on the work and identity of First World War nurses.  Her latest book, Veiled Warriors: Allied Nurses of the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2014), is a narrative history of nurses' work and experience during the war, and a fourth scholarly monograph is under review with Johns Hopkins University Press (Nurse Writers of the Great War).  Christine has also published 21 journal articles and 6 book chapters within the field of Nursing History.  Overall, she has authored 6 books, over 50 scholarly papers and 7 research reports.

Methodological knowledge

In addition to being a trained historian, Professor Christine Hallett has worked within a number of health sciences approaches, ranging from a large scale questionnaire survey to hermeneutic phenomenological studies of nursing practice and education.

Christine’s main areas of expertise are Nursing History and qualitative health research (particularly phenomenology).  Her first PhD was a phenomenological study of community-based nursing education.  Her second was a historical study of puerperal fever in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Much of her post-doctoral work employed qualitative research methods to study contemporary nursing problems; or oral history methodology to study the history of nursing practice.  Her most recent work focuses on the lives and work of nurses during the First World War, using empirical historical research.  Christine has been project lead for 4 externally-funded research studies, in addition to having held a further 11 external grants as sole or joint grant-holder.  She has supervised nine PhD students to successful completion.  Five of these employed historical methods, while the remaining four undertook qualitative research studies.  She has a further five PhD students currently under supervision, four of whom are undertaking historical research.  She welcomes enquiries from prospective students and post-doctoral researchers in the fields of Nursing History and Humanities, and from individuals who wish to use qualitative approaches (particularly phenomenology) to study the theory and practice of nursing.


Research and projects