Professor Andrew McVicar

Emeritus Professor
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Nursing
Research Supervision:

Andrew has an academic background in physiology education more recently linked to stress responses in clinical or work places. He also has considerable experience in supporting research capacity building.

[email protected]


Andrew completed his PhD, funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council, in 1982 working in the School of Animal Biology at University College of N Wales, Bangor. For his postdoctoral work he changed disciplines, moving into medical physiology on a National Kidney Research Fund Fellowship, and subsequently an Medical Research Council Fellowship (Department of Physiology, University of Birmingham; 1982-1985). He subsequently secured a lectureship in the Department of Physiology at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, University of London (1985-1990). This was followed by a senior lectureship at Anglia Ruskin University where the focus of his work transferred to healthcare, and research capacity building in both health and social care.

Andy's research interests have evolved throughout and now centre on three strands: stress and wellbeing, physiology education for healthcare, and research development.

Research interests
  • Stress transition from adaptation to maladaptation
  • Models of stress/stress theory
  • Stress in workplace settings
  • Chronic stress and well-being
  • Work environments especially for health care  workers
  • Bioscience education in health care

Underpinning much of his research interests is firstly an interest in interaction and adaptation of people in challenging environments, whether that be a clinical setting or workplace. Secondly, he has considerable experience in research training and supervision of people from academic and non-academic backgrounds, from both health and social care sectors.

Areas of research supervision

Andrew would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics -  especially related to nursing and or nurse management:

  • Stress transition from adaptation to maladaptation
  • Models of stress/stress theory
  • Stress in workplace settings
  • Chronic stress and well-being
  • Work environments especially for health care  workers
  • Bioscience education in health care
Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:

Andrew has supervised 12 PhD students to completion, examined PhD and Prof Doc students on 12+ occasions (including 5 as external of which 1 was international), and has Chaired 15+ PhD and Prof Doc viva voce examinations on behalf of the University. He is currently supervising a number of PhD or Professional Doctorate students.

His doctoral supervision reflects his interests. Current PhD studies and recent PhD completions include: 

'Subject' as first supervisor:
  •  What influences students make in selecting texts to support learning in anatomy and physiology? (2015)
  • Stress in the Workplace: An Appreciative Inquiry Approach (2013)
  • The impact of profound brain injury on the occupational life of family members. (2012)
  • Workplace stress amongst healthcare staff looking after patients with dementia diagnosis in a mental health hospital. (Current)
  • The contribution of overseas-trained nurses toward nursing practice. A case study from an orthopaedic setting.(Current)
  • The experience of overseas registered nurses in challenging unsafe practice. (Current)
‘Subject’ as second supervisor:
  • Work stress and job satisfaction amongst Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) nurses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.(Current)
  • The value of clinical research to acute NHS Trust(s) (Current)

Andrew's career has included undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of basic and applied physiology, to undergraduate biology and physiology students, medical and dental students, nurses, midwives, public health students, and operating department practitioners. His approach to the subject is rooted in systems theory expressed through principles of homeostasis, allostasis and homeostatic failure, illustrated in his co-authored textbook: Clancy,J & McVicar,A 2009. Physiology and Anatomy: A Homeostatic Approach for Nurses and Healthcare Practitioners. HodderArnold;London.

His main teaching activity currently is research supervision and teaching/workshops related to a breadth of issues around research and research supervision, to undergraduate, masters and doctoral students, including on research philosophy, methodology, design, data analysis and dissemination.

  • BSc Honours Zoology; University of Newcastle upon Tyne; 1977
  • PhD; University of Wales; 1982
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy; 2007
Memberships, editorial boards
  • 2015. Member (pending) European Association of Work and Organisational Psychology.
  • 2013-2015. Member, Research for Patient Benefit (NIHR) Eastern Region Advisory Board.
  • 2007-present. Member, Research Development and Support Group, Colchester Hospitals University Foundation NHS Trust.
  • 1986-present. Member, Physiological Society, London.
  • 2014-present. Member, Editorial Board International Journal of Stress Management.
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • 2015. (co-applicant). Evaluation of the IHM First Steps to healthcare Management programme pilots. Higher Education East of England/Institute for Healthcare management. £20,000
  • 2014  (Lead)  Covariance of cortisol secretion and psychometric tools, in the evaluation of stress. Anglia Ruskin University £3000
  • 2014. (Co-lead) Developing citizen research groups. Healthwatch East £10,000
  • 2013 (Co-lead) Bioscience in nurse education. Anglia Ruskin University £5,500
  • 2010 (Co-researcher) Evaluation of the physiological, psychological and biochemical response of breast cancer patients to complementary therapies. RAE funding £14,000
  • 2009-2012 (Co-lead) Developing Older People as Researchers Essex County Council £22,500
  • 2009-2011 Anglia Ruskin Uni (with a Borough Council) Managing stress within the  workplace: a participatory  approach £58,000
Selected recent publications
  • [Ravalier,J., McVicar,A. & Munn-Giddings,C. (under review). Appreciative Inquiry for organizational stress management. International Journal of Stress Management]
  • [McVicar, Greenwood, Ellis & LeForis (under review). Influence of study design on outcomes following reflexology massage: an integrative and critical review of interventional studies. Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine.]
  • McVicar,A. (2015). Using the job demands-resources model to scope antecedents of job stress and job satisfaction for nurses. Journal of Nursing Management.   Available on-line: doi 10.1111/jonm.12326
  • McVicar,A., Andrew, S. & Kemble,R. (2014). Biosciences within the pre-registration (pre-requisite) curriculum: an integrative literature review of curriculum interventions 1990-2012. Nurse Education Today 34, 560-568
  • McVicar,A., Andrew, S. & Kemble,R. (2014).The ‘bioscience problem’ for student nurses: an integrative review of published evaluations of year 1 bioscience, and directions for curriculum development.  Nurse Education Today available on-line
  • Priharjo, R., McVicar, A., Smith, J., 2011. An investigation into patients and nurses experiences of diabetes consultation. Diabetic Medicine, 28 (suppl.1), pp.109.
  • Gelling,L., & McVicar,AJ (2009). Living with idiopathic hydrocephalus: a grounded theory study. British Journal of neuroscience Nursing 5(4), 173-178.
  • Ravalier,J., McVicar,A. & Munn-Giddings,C. 2014. Public service stress and burnout over 12 months. Occupational Medicine. 64 (7): 521-523.
  • McVicar,A., Ravalier,J. & Greenwood,C. 2014. Biology of stress revisited: Intracellular mechanisms and the conceptualization of stress. Stress & Health. 30, (4), 272–279
  • Newton,J. & McVicar.A. 2013. Evaluation of the currency of the Davies and Oberle (1990) model of supportive care in specialist and specialised palliative care settings in England. Journal of Clinical Nursing.  23, (11-12), 1662–1676
  • Ravalier,J., McVicar,A. & Munn-Giddings,C. 2013. The Management Standards Indicator Tool and measurement of burnout. Occupational Medicine Mar;63(2):145-7
  • Smailes,S., McVicar,AJ & Martin,R. (2013). Cough strength, secretions and extubation outcome in burn patients who have passed a spontaneous breathing trial. Burns 39, 236-242.
  • McVicar,A., Munn-Giddings,C. & Abu-Helil,C. 2012. Exploring the development of action research in nursing and social care in the UK: A comparative bibliometric review of action research designs in social work (2000-2010).Action Research 10(1), pp79-101
  • McVicar,A.,  Munn-Giddings,C. & Seebohm,P., (2012). Workplace stress interventions using participatory action research designs. International Journal of Workplace Health Management 6 (1), 18-37
  • McVicar,A. & Clancy, J., 2011 Glucocorticoid hormones and stress-related depression: an evaluation of biological mechanisms and the potential for new therapeutics. Journal of Public Mental Health.10(1) 17-33
  • McVicar,A, Clancy,J & Mayes,N., 2010. An exploratory study of the application of biosciences in practice, and implications for pre-qualifying education. Nurse Education Today 30, 615–622
  • Boyce,M., O’Brien,N., Munn-Giddings,C. & McVicar,A., 2009. Does the rhetoric of ‘user participation’ in research apply to older people? Research, Policy & Planning. 27(1), 55-63
  • Smailes,S., martin,R. & McVicar,AJ (2009). The incidence and outcome of extubation failure in burn intensive care patients. Journal of Burn Care and Research 30(3), 386-392.
Recent presentations and conferences
  • McVicar, A., Andrew, S. & Clancy, J. 2014. The ‘bioscience problem’ in undergraduate nurse education: resolvable or unsolvable? FINE international conference, Nancy, France
  • Andrew, S., Evangelinos, G., Henderson, N., McVicar, A. & Spurling, L. 2013. An enquiry into using supplementary bioscience resources in health. Anglia Learning & Teaching Conference.
  • Ellis, C., McVicar, A. & Greenwood, C. (with Rooke, K., Bristow, M., Rai, S., Moor, H.,Smith, S. & Parker, M.) 2013.  Investigation into the psychological, physiological and biochemical impacts of reflexology on cancer patients. CAMSTRAND, Middlesex Uni
  • Priharjo, R., McVicar, A. & Smith, J. 2011 The first phase of a sequential design to explore patients’ and nurses’ experiences of diabetes consultation. 7th Mixed Methods International Conference; Leeds (poster).
  • Ravalier, A., McVicar, A. & Munn-Giddings, C. 2012. Using Appreciative Inquiry for stress management in a public sector organisation. British Psychological Society (Division of Occupational Health), Chester.
  • McVicar, A., Munn-Giddings, C. 2011 Establishing participatory research with, and within, external organisations: experiences from two partnership projects. Anglia Ruskin University Research Conference 2011 (presentation).
  • McVicar, A. (Symposium co-presenter) 2008. What are the core ethical and practical issues in undertaking action research? Evidence from involving participant groups of young people, older people and user-led organisations CARN International Conference; Liverpool