Dr Susan Walker

Associate Professor
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Midwifery and Community Health
Chelmsford ,
Areas of Expertise:
Health and wellbeing
Research Supervision:

Susan's specialist areas are contraception and sexual health, and teaching clinical assessment skills.

[email protected]

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Susan qualified in medicine from Queens' University in Belfast in 1990. She specialised in general practice in 1993, became a Diplomate of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, and developed an interest in the intersection of gender and medicine. She undertook a BA (Hons) in Women's Studies and Sociology at Anglia Ruskin University and was awarded a PhD in Sociology at the University of Cambridge in 2010. Her PhD title was The Effect of Gendered Body Image upon Contraceptive Outcomes.

She continues to work at the intersection of medicine and sociology, with a particular interest in gender.

Research interests
  • Contraception
  • Sexual health
  • Health behaviours, attitudes and experiences
  • Social factors affecting health 
  • Experiences of primary care

Susan's research interests lie at the intersection of sociology and health. She is particularly interested in the effects of gender and sexuality upon health behaviours. She has researched attitudes, knowledge and beliefs about the body and towards contraception. She has also led projects which examined the impacts of education and training upon the healthcare workforce.

Areas of research supervision

Susan would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Contraception
  • Sexual health
  • Health behaviours, attitudes and experiences
  • Social factors affecting health
  • Experiences of primary care

Susan teaches modules and workshops related to contraception and sexual health at post-registration level. She also contributes to a number of other modules at pre- and post-registration level where she teaches on contraception and sexual health, screening and health promotion. She contributes to the teaching and examining of advanced clinical assessment skills for nurses and other allied health professionals.

  • 2010. PhD conferred by University of Cambridge. Thesis: The effect of gendered body Image upon Contraceptive Outcomes Funded by an ESRC Studentship: PTA 030-2004-00642
  • 2010. SEDA certificate in Supporting Learning with Technology. Staff and Educational Development Association
  • 2005. M.Phil. conferred by University of Cambridge Dissertation: A Thematic and Discursive Analysis of Contraceptive Texts; using Semi-structured Interviews and Information Leaflets
  • 2004. BA (Hons.) First Class. Women’s Studies & Sociology. Anglia Ruskin University
  • 1998. Diploma of Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (DFRSH)
  • 1993. Membership examination of Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP), Edinburgh
  • 1990. MB BCH BAO. Queen’s University Belfast
Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member of British Medical Association
  • Registered with General Medial Council (UK)
  • Diplomate of Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy (HEA)
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • The feasibility of the provision of contraceptive advice and treatment by midwives, to post-natal women in their care. April 2019-June 2020 - £86,834
  • The impact of extended nursing roles such as Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Advanced Clinical Practitioners in both acute and primary care contexts. May 2018-March 2019  -    £89,783
  • An evaluation of preceptorship programmes for General Practice nurses. March 2018-November 2018 -   £42,076
  • ‘Acceptability of intrauterine Contraception in General Practice’ Co-investigator (with Open University) - Bayer pharmaceuticals - £131,119 (ARU £22.333 )
  • ‘Impact of CPD upon the clinical workforce in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’ Mixed method study- Lead researcher – Sept 13-14 - £50,000
  • ‘Impact of CPD upon the clinical workforce in Essex’ Mixed method study- Lead researcher - Nov 12-July13 - £39,681
  • ‘Seeking the views of final year midwifery students on how to teach sexual health and contraception within a midwifery curriculum’ – Mixed method case study – Co-researcher 2011-12 - £3000
  • ESRC research seminar series 2012 £13,513 Co-investigator (in collaboration with Greenwich university, Cardiff University, Kings College, London, Institute of Education, London)
  • Construction of a Patient Reported Experience measure (PREM) – qualitative analysis of data in collaboration with Prof. Sharon Andrew (ARU), Prof. Mike Roberts (Barts), & Mr Matthew Hodson (Homerton UH)- Co-researcher 2011 - £11,500
  • 'Self perceived educational needs of school nurses involved in delivering sex and relationships’ education – Questionnaire survey of school nurses training – Co researcher 2010-11
  • PhD research project – University of Cambridge – 2005-2010 ‘ The effect of gendered Body image upon Contraceptive Outcomes’ Supervisor: Prof. Juliet Mitchell
Selected recent publications

Walker, S. H., Hooks, C. and Blake, D. (2021) 'The views of postnatal women and midwives on midwives providing contraceptive advice and methods: a mixed method concurrent study', BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 21, pp. 411. ISSN 1471-2393

Pearson, J. T., Chelstowska, M., Rowland, S. P., Kopp-Kallner, H., Berglund Scherwitzl, E., Walker, S., Gemzell Danielsson, K. and Scherwitzl, R. (2021) 'Natural Cycles App: Contraceptive Outcomes and Demographic Analysis of UK Users', European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 26(2), pp. 105-110. ISSN 1473-0782

Kubiak, C., Draper, J., Walker, S., Acton, F., Clark, E., Rogers, J., Dearnley, C. Rogers, M. (2020) ''They come with their own ideas of what they want': Healthcare educator, advanced practice student and manager perspectives on learning outcomes', Journal of Education and Work, 33(4), pp. 312-325. ISSN 1469-9435

Hooks, C. and Walker, S. H. (2020) 'An exploration of the role of Advanced Clinical Practitioners in the East of England', British Journal of Nursing, 29(15). ISSN 2052-2819

Walker, S. H., Piercy, H., Shearn, K. and Acton, F. (2020) 'What consultation resources are available to support delivery of integrated Sexual and Reproductive health services?: a scoping review', BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, 46(2), pp. 88-99. ISSN 2515-1991

Walker, S. H. Norris, K. (2020) 'What is the evidence that can inform the implementation of a preceptorship scheme for general practice nurses, and what is the evidence for the benefits of such a scheme?: A literature review and synthesis', Nurse Education Today, 86, 104327. ISSN 1532-2793

Walker, S. H. (2020) 'A Mixed-Method Study of the Views of Women, in a General Practice (Primary) Health Care Setting, Regarding Intrauterine Contraception', SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine & Health. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781529724783

Hunt, R., Bates, C., Walker, S. H., Grierson, J., Redsell, S. A. and Meads, C. (2019) 'A Systematic Review of UK Educational and Training Materials Aimed at Health and Social Care Staff about Providing Appropriate Services for LGBT+ People', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(24), pp. 4976. ISSN 1660-4601

Rowlands, S. and Walker, S. (2019) 'Reproductive control by others: means, perpetrators and effects', BMJ Sex Reprod Health, 45, pp. 61-67. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsrh-2018-200156

Hoggart, L., Walker, S., Newton, V. L. and Parker, M. (2018) 'Provider-based barriers to provision of intrauterine contraception in general practice', BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, 44(2), pp. 82-89. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsrh-2017-101805

Walker, S., Newton, V. L., Hoggart, L., Parker, M. (2018) 'I think maybe 10 years seems a bit long; Beliefs and attitudes of women who had never used intrauterine contraception', BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, 44(2), pp. 90-96. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsrh-2017-101798

Walker, S., Andrew, S., Hodson, M. and Roberts, C. M. (2017) 'Stage 1 development of a patient-reported experience measure (PREM) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)', npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41533-017-0047-5

Walker, S., Newton, V. L., Hoggart, L. and Parker, M. (2016) 'Predictors of Non-Use of Intrauterine Contraception among women aged 18-49 years in a General Practice setting in the UK', Open Access Journal of Contraception. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2147/oajc.s116994


Duschinsky, R. & Walker, S. eds., 2015.  Juliet Mitchell and the Lateral Axis; 21st Century Psychoanalysis & Feminism. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, Book Chapters

Walker, S. & Stewart, M. 2015 ‘Sexuality and Midwifery’. In P. Lindsey. & I. Peate. eds. 2015.Introducing the Social Sciences for Midwifery Practice. London & New York: Routledge. pp. 158-175

Walker S., 2014. Dealing with the Challenges of Sexual Exploration for Young People. In: C. Thurston, ed., 2014. Essential Nursing Care for Children and Young People: Theory, Policy and Practice. Abingdon: Routledge. pp.257-275

Walker, S. 2014. The Etiology of Hysteria in Mitchell’s Madmen & Medusas. In R. Duschinsky & S. Walker eds., 2015. Juliet Mitchell and the Lateral Axis; 21st Century Psychoanalysis & Feminism.New York: Palgrave MacMillan. pp.33-59

Duschinsky, R. & Walker, S. 2014. Introduction. In R. Duschinsky & S. Walker. eds. 2015. Juliet Mitchell and the Lateral Axis; 21st Century Psychoanalysis & Feminism. New York: PalgraveMacMillan pp. 1-29


Walker, S., 2013. The Impact of CPD upon the Clinical Workforce in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – Quantitative findings.[Unpublished Report]

Walker, S., Davis, K., Andrew, S., & Page, P. 2013. The Impact of CPD upon the Clinical Workforce in Essex.[Unpublished Report]

Peer reviewed papers

Walker, S.H. & Davis, G., 2014. Knowledge and Reported Confidence of Final Year Midwifery Students Regarding Giving Advice on Contraception and Sexual Health. Midwifery, 30, e169-e176.

Gillin, N., Taylor, R., Walker, S. 2017.Exploring the concept of “caring cultures” A critical examination of the conceptual, methodological and validity issues with the “caring cultures” construct. Journal of Clinical Nursing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.13858

Walker, S., & Davis, G. 2013. Learning at work and university: Midwifery students and sexual health advice, Practitioner Research in Higher Education Journal, 7(1), October.

Walker, S. & Davis, G., 2013. “Seeking the views of midwifery students on teaching contraception and sexual health within a Midwifery curriculum”. Networks, 16, pp.85-88

Walker, S. 2013. “Clinicians should consider the effect of bodily metaphors when discussing contraceptive options.”[Letter] Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care;39:152 doi:10.1136/jfprhc-2012-100561

Hodson, M., Andrew, S., Walker, S. and Roberts, M. 2012. “Coming and going: COPD patients’ experiences of hospital admission and discharge”. Thorax: An International Journal of Respiratory Medicine, 67(Suppl 2) A1-204, pp. A98.

Walker, S. 2012. "Mechanistic and ‘Natural’ Body Metaphors and their effects on attitudes to hormonal contraception". Women & Health.[online]

Andrew, S. & Walker, S.H. 2012. [Report] Developing a Patient Reported Experience Measure for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (PREMCOPD).

Walker, SH. 2011. Attitudes towards a Male contraceptive Pill in a group of UK Contraceptive Users in the UK. Journal of Men's Health ,8(4),p.267-273, Dec 2011 (online) DOI information: 10.1016/j.jomh.2011.04.003

Walker, SH & Thurston, C 2011. Experiences and training in delivering sexual healthcare. British Journal of School Nursing.6 (6), pp.289-293.

Recent presentations and conferences

Walker, SH., 2021 The Effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Contraceptive Prescribing in English General (Practices. [Poster] 26th WONCA Europe conference (virtual), Amsterdam, Netherlands. 6-10 July 2021

Newton, V.L, Walker, S., Hoggart, L., Parker, M. 2018. Developing resources to support IUC consultations and address barriers to uptake in UK General Practice.[eposter] 15th ESC Congress, Budapest, Hungary, 9-11 May 2018

Walker, S., Newton, V.L, Hoggart, L., Parker, M. 2016. Barriers to the uptake of intrauterine contraception: patient and practitioner perspectives. [eposter] 14th ESC Congress, Basel, Switzerland, 4-7 May 2016. Best Poster Award.

Media experience

The Conversation (academic media outlet)

Walker, S. 2019. Contraception: the way you take the pill has more to do with the pope than with your health. 22 Jan 2019 [192,101 reads by https://theconversation.com/contraception-the-way-you-take-the-pill-has-more-to-do-with-the-pope-than-your-health-109392

Walker, S 2016. We won’t have a male contraceptive until we change our understanding of risk. The Conversation. 8 Nov 2016 [2201 reads by 24.5.19] https://theconversation.com/we-wont-have-a-male-contraceptive-until-we-change-our-understanding-of-risk-68375

BBC Suffolk radio interview on male contraception 23/03/2019

BBC website – quoted in an article on male contraceptive pill, 23/03/2019

BBC Focus magazine – quoted in article on male contraceptive pill- July 2018 edition https://www.sciencefocus.com/magazine/hunting-for-lifes-cosmic-origin/, July 2018

BBC Essex radio interview on contraceptive app, July 2016, Interview re. PhD findings on male pill. Published at http://mosaicscience.com/story/why-are-we-still-waiting-male-pill-birth-control-contraceptive, 08/02/2017

The Guardian, What happened to the contraceptive pill for men? (research cited), 23/07/2016

Independent, Why is there still no pill for men? (research cited), 14/07/2016

BBC Essex radio interview on PhD findings on ‘male pill’, 12/04/2011