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Dr Karen Higginbotham

Nursing and Advanced Practice

Faculty of Health

A Registered General Nurse with over 20 years’ experience working in both the NHS and Private sector. My areas of expertise primarily sit within the specialism of critical care nursing; these include general intensive care, high dependency care and cardio-thoracic intensive care. My passion for education has been a common thread which has weaved its way throughout the whole of my nursing career. I’ve been fortunate to be part of and influence the direction of nurse education for critical care nurses both at a local and national level, working alongside the Department of Health Modernisation Agency as a Lead Nurse for Critical Care for Greater Manchester in the early 2000.

Many of my professional appointments have fostered this passion for education and allowed the time to mentor and teach clinically both student nurses and qualified nurses in the critical care environment. A keen advocate for change I have been influential in changing practice and introducing in my local trust track and trigger systems like the Adult NEWS Score. This involved the redesign of the hospital physiological observation charts. This project was later to be rolled out into other professional disciplines like paediatrics and midwifery.

My career trajectory to date has been exciting and varied and has allowed me to undertake a number of professional roles which have enhanced both my clinical and leadership skills. The senior leadership posts in particular have provided an opportunity to develop nursing roles, enhance clinical practice and focus on the delivery of quality of care for patients. I enjoy redesigning services and have been involved in a number of local and national projects which have involved making small step changes to improve the quality of patient care.

My research interests focus on the specialism of heart failure but more specifically patients who are diagnosed with end stage heart failure who require palliation. This was the focus of my doctoral thesis ‘A Grounded Theory Study – Exploring Health Care Professionals Decision Making when Managing the Care of Patients diagnosed with End Stage Heart Failure.
Memberships include British Society Heart Failure –Nurses Forum where I have recently co-authored a competency framework for heart failure specialist nurses. Other memberships include Board of Governors for Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Fellow Higher Education Academy .

Currently, I am co supervise PhD students covering topics on lifestyle /hypertension/ urgent care using quantitative method and qualitative methods. I am a module lead for the Fundamentals of Qualitative research which is part of our MRES Pathway. I module lead on a Heart Failure module which is part of a suite of cardiac modules leading to an MSc Cardiac Care.


University of Salford, United Kingdom, DProf
University of Manchester, United Kingdom, MPhil in Nursing
University of Manchester, United Kingdom, BSc Hons Nursing Studies


University of Salford, United Kingdom, PGCAP

Academic appointments

Senior Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool John Moores University, 2021 - present
Lecturer Adult Nursing, School of Health and Society, University of Salford, 2015 - 2021

Journal article

Stanley S, Higginbotham K, Finucane A, Nwosu AC. 2023. A grounded theory study exploring palliative care healthcare professionals' experiences of managing digital legacy as part of advance care planning for people receiving palliative care Palliative Medicine, :1-10 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Simpson M, Millerick Y, Girdler-Heald L, Higginbotham K, Whittingham K, Masters J, Barton C. 2022. Developing the Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Competency Framework British Journal of Nursing, 31 :732-737 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Higginbotham K, Jones I, Johnson M. 2021. A grounded theory study: Exploring health care professionals decision making when managing end stage heart failure care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url


Higginbotham K. A Grounded Theory Study Exploring Healthcare Professionals’ Experiences of Decision Making when Managing the Care of Patients Diagnosed with End Stage Heart Failure. Jones ID, Johnson M.

Conference publication

Stanley S, Nwosu A, Higginbotham K. What are palliative care healthcare professional’s experiences of supporting palliative patients in managing digital legacy as part of advance care planning? BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, Mari Curie 1 :A16-A17 Publisher Url

External committees:

British Association for Nursing in Cardiac Care, BANCC, Ordinary Council Member, 2022

Other Professional Activity:

NIHR Pal Care -NWC (Palliative Care Research -North West Coast Action Learning sets.. 2022

External Examiner , Edge Hill University , Medical School PGCERT INTEGRATED PALLIATIVE & END OF LIFE CARE , MSCI PALLIATIVE & END OF LIFE CARE HEA4219 -. 2021

External PGR Supervision - completed students:

University of Salford, Professional Doctorate, To explore the experiences of care of patients, carers and healthcare professionals on an AEC unit. 2021

Conference presentation:

A Vicious Cycle of Heart Failure Care -A Grounded Theory., The Sense of an Ending, Meanings and Understanding, Scottish Council Palliative Care Annual Conference, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, Poster presentation. 2018

A Constructivist Grounded Theory Exploring Health Care Professionals Experience of Decision Making when Managing the Care of Patients Diagnosed with End Stage Heart Failure, SSSI Annual Couch Stone Conference, University of Lancaster, Oral presentation. 2018


The Barbers Company Clinical Nursing Scholarship, The Worshipful Company of Barbers. 2012


Fellow Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy.

Membership of professional bodies:

Honorary Contract Public Health England CVS Projects, Public Health England.

Member of Board of Governors Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

Member of British Society Heart Failure, British Society Heart Failure.

Nursing and Midwifery Council, Professional Registration NMC PIN 86Y3303E.