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Dr Susanne Smith

Dr Susanne Smith

Senior Lecturer

 Not Known



I am a Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Leadership & Management in the University of Exeter's Faculty of Health & Life Sciences (Education & Scholarship).  I have around sixteen years experience teaching at postgraduate level in healthcare and have a particular interest in leading change at a systems-level and equipping students to manage the complexities of real clinical systems to improve safety, patient outcomes and staff well-being.

I started my career in molecular genetics: researching multiple antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations, and I have spent time working in industry in a safety-critical capacity, and also in the NHS as a Research & Development Manager and Clinical Effectiveness Lead.

I am part of the vibrant faculty team for the MSc in Healthcare Leadership & Management and the Senior Leader Apprenticeship (Healthcare) programme.  I am both an Academic Tutor for Masters students and an Academic Mentor for some of our Senior Leader apprentices; I'm also Co-Director of the Senior Leader (Healthcare) Programme.  I love working with our students and am motivated by the potential for education to transform students’ careers and their workplaces.


PhD The evolution of the Tn21 subgroup of bacterial transposons (Faculty of Medicine, University of Bristol)

BSc (Hons) Microbiology (University of Edinburgh)

PG Certificate in Clinical Education (University of Plymouth)

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2019)


Research interests

I have supervised 16 MSc dissertation students in the past whose diverse research interests included the use of appreciative inquiry in transformational leadership; understanding cultural barriers around incident reporting; and the use of Functional Resonance Analysis Methodology (FRAM) to improve paediatric theatre processes.

Although these topics are highly diverse, a unifying aspect is the need to truly understand a system before trying to make a change or propose an improvement.  

Recent Publications
Rego A, Spowart L, Smith S. ‘Herding cats’: A mixed methods investigation into the educational value of debriefing in operating theatres. Journal of Perioperative Practice. 2023;0(0). doi:10.1177/17504589221149842

External Engagement and Impact

External positions

External Examiner for the PG Certificate Healthcare Improvement and the MSc Healthcare Management programme at the University of Bristol Medical School (from 2021).

Nominated for the 2018 HSJ Award “Creating a supportive staff culture” as part of the South West Academic Health Science Network, with frontline teams from across the South West region, “Improving Safety Culture - a whole system approach in South West England”.


Teaching responsibilities: (Postgraduate)

Module Lead for HPDM145DA/HPDM145: Strategy & Systems Leadership

Module Lead for HPDM115DA: Healthcare Finance & Ethics

Member of the Faculty team for:

HPDM081: Management in Healthcare

HPDM080: Leadership in Healthcare

HPDM113DA: Management & Leadership in Healthcare

HPDM059/DA: Leading Change in Healthcare



Supervision / Group

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