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Dr Lucy Selman

Dr Lucy Selman

Dr Lucy Selman

Senior Research Fellow

Area of research

Patients' experience of health and illness, palliative and end of life care, developing and evaluating health services and interventions

Office 3.12
Canynge Hall,
39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 3314570


I hold the post of Senior Research Fellow in the School of Population Health Sciences. In 2019 I start a four-year NIHR Career Development Fellowship leading the OSCAR study (Optimising Staff-patient Communication in Advanced Renal disease). I co-lead the University of Bristol Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group.  

My research interests fall into two areas: the development and evaluation of complex clinical interventions, and palliative and end of life care.

Development and evaluation of complex interventions 

I have worked on a number of studies using mixed methods to develop and evaluate complex interventions. In 2012-14 I led the qualitative component of the TOPCare randomised trial of palliative care for patients with HIV, established on anti-retroviral therapy, in South Africa and Kenya. On a Visiting Scholarship to the University of California, San Francisco in 2014, I worked on a pilot study of a Tele-Yoga intervention for patients with COPD and heart failure. From 2016-2019 I was a qualitative researcher at Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration, where I was responsible for qualitative research with participants and healthcare providers in the UPSTREAM NIHR-funded research study. UPSTREAM (Urodynamics for Prostate Surgery Trial; Randomised Evaluation of Assessment Methods) was a national randomised controlled trial in men who have bothersome difficulty passing urine, comparing a care pathway including invasive urodynamics to usual care in terms of symptoms and rates of bladder outlet surgery. 

Palliative and End of Life Care 

My clinical research interests are primarily related to palliative, supportive and end of life care. Prior to joining the University of Bristol, I worked for 11 years at the Cicely Saunders Insitute, King's College London, where I completed a PhD in Palliative Care. I have published widely in this field, with a specific focus on psychosocial and spiritual aspects of the illness experience and of care provision, decision-making and communication, family caregiving, cultural factors in care provision, and end of life care education and training.

At King's College London I was Principal Investigator on the Transforming End of Life Care study (2014-16, funded by Health Education South London), investigating end of life care training needs in healthcare providers who care for those with advanced disease but who are not specialists in palliative care. I have also led a number of international research projects in spiritual care, and conducted palliative care research across diseases (heart failure, HIV/AIDS, cancer), settings (hospice, community and hospital), and countries (India, South Africa, Ug anda, Kenya, USA, UK).  

In January 2017 I co-founded the University of Bristol Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group - please contact me if you would like further details about this. I am interested in linking with researchers from diverse disciplines with an interest in palliative and end of life care and communication and decision-making in clinical contexts.  


I joined the BRTC as a Research Fellow in January 2016. Before joining the BRTC I worked for ten years as a researcher at the Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation, King's College London. There I completed my PhD, a mixed methods study of the assessment of spiritual well-being among patients receiving palliative care in South Africa and Uganda. 

I have worked primarily in the field of palliative care, conducting and coordinating research in primary, tertiary and community settings in the UK, India, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and the USA. My research has focused on a range of life-limiting health conditions and the experiences of patients, family caregivers and healthcare professionals, aiming to inform the delivery of healthcare and the development and evaluation of interventions.

Before moving into health research, I studied Philosophy, completing an MPhil specialising in Philosophy of Science in 2003. My research is interdisciplinary, predominantly focusing on the use of qualitative and mixed research methodologies.   



From 2006 to 2015 I regularly taught on the MSc in Palliative Care modules Research Methods and Statistics and Psychosocial, Cultural, Ethical and Spiritual Issues in End of Life Care. I also taught global health research, culture and health, qualitative research methods and essay writing to medical undergraduates on the Intercalated BSc and Special Study Modules in Global Health. At the University of Bristol I will be teaching undergraduate medical students on the Society, Health and Medicine course starting autumn 2016.   

While Visiting Scholar at UCSF in 2013 I taught on the doctoral module Theories of Ageing and Palliative Care Research.

I have also supervised the research project work of several MSc and PhD students. 


  • Qualitative methods
  • Users' experience of health and health services
  • Development and evaluation of interventions
  • Palliative care
  • Spiritual care
  • Family care-giving
  • Patient reported outcome measures
  • Patient-clinician communication
  • Training in end of life care
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Cross-cultural research


  • Cancer
  • heart failure
  • COPD
  • palliative care

Processes and functions

  • Decision-making
  • Health service design and delivery
  • Training of healthcare professionals
  • Clinical interventions
  • Information provision
  • Coping strategies
  • Meaning-making


  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Ethnography
  • Thematic analysis
  • Mixed methods research
  • Systematic reviews


My clinical area of expertise is in palliative and end of life care. I have a specific interest in how to communicate about death and dying and make decisions about future care. I have methodological expertise in qualitative research within randomised controlled trials.

  • randomised controlled trials
  • palliative care
  • end of life care
  • communication about death and dying
  • decision-making in advanced disease
  • Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

    Networks & contacts

    • Cicely Saunders Institute
    • King's College London University of California
    • San Francisco

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