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University of Exeter Medical School

 Dr Natasha Doran

Dr Natasha Doran

Senior Lecturer & Senior Research Fellow

 07905 105511

 South Cloisters 


South Cloisters, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Natasha Doran is a social scientist (medical anthropologist and medical sociologist) with an expertise in qualitative research in health. She has collaborated on a range of research exploring doctors’ health, wellbeing in the workplace, medical education, professional development and practice, as well as patients’ experiences of chronic illness and pain. She has presented and published in the areas of medical education; trainee doctors’ stress and support mechanisms; junior doctors’ experiences of personal illness; UK GPs leaving practice early in their careers; junior doctors’ reasons for choosing general practice as a career; quality improvement in healthcare; NHS patient safety collaboratives; mindfulness-based pain management and social research methodology.

As senior research fellow, Natasha has collaborated on an evaluation of a QI programme for junior doctors across South-West England; led the qualitative branch of a mixed methods national study to evaluate Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) across NHS England; and has recently completed a study looking at F2 doctors' changing attitudes to a GP career.

As senior lecturer in postgraduate education, she is currently contributing across the MSc programmes in Clinical Education (CE); Extreme Medicine (EM); Healthcare Leadership and Management (HLM); and Clinical Pharmacy in the Medical school, University of Exeter, UK.

Natasha is also an accredited mindfulness-based teacher having completed 4 levels of teacher training with Breathworks (CIC), running courses for pain management, as well as stress in the workplace.


  • PhD Medical Sociology & Medical Anthropology
  • MA Medical Anthropology
  • BA Combined hons (Social Studies/History)

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Research interests

Natasha’s main research interests include doctors' health; well-being and compassion in the workplace; culture change in the NHS; mindfulness-based approaches to pain management; patient safety and quality of care; health-care staff retention and recruitment; social research methodology.

Natasha has trained in the theoretical and philosophical background to qualitative research and teaches a variety of methods including: Interviewing, biographical methods, participant observation, ethnography and the auto-ethnographic method and focus group discussions. She is experienced in using constructivist grounded theory (CGT), interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) thematic analysis (TA) and framework analysis.

Research projects

Key Publications:

● Sheaff, R.; Doran, N.; Harris, M.; Lang, I.; Medina-Lara A.; Fornasiero, M.; Ball, S.; McGregor-Harper, J.; Bethune, R.; (2021) ‘Categories of Context in Realist Evaluation’ Evaluation, Vol.27(2) pp. 184-209.

● Doran, N.J; Bethune, R; Watson, J; Finucane, K; Carson-Stevens, A. 2018 “Empowering junior doctors: A qualitative study of a QI programme in South West England” BMJ Postgraduate medical journal, DOI: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2018-136059

● Doran, N.J; Fox, F.E; Rodham, K.J; Taylor, G.J; Harris, M.F. 2016 ‘Lost to the NHS: a mixed methods study of why GPs leave practice early in England’ Br J Gen Pract 2016; DOI:10.3399/bjgp16X683425

● Rodham, K.J; Fox, F.E & Doran, N.J., 2015. ‘Exploring analytical trustworthiness and the process of reaching consensus in interpretative phenomenological analysis: Lost in transcription.’ International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18 (1), pp. 59-71. DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2013.852368

● Doran, N.J., 2014. ‘Experiencing Wellness Within Illness: Exploring a Mindfulness-Based Approach to Chronic Back Pain. Qualitative Health Research, 24 (6), pp. 749-760. DOI: 10.1177/1049732314529662

● Bullock, A; Fox, F; Barnes, R; Doran, N.J; Hardyman, W; Moss, D; Stacy, M., 2013. ‘Transitions in medicine: Trainee doctor stress and support mechanisms.’ Journal of Workplace Learning. Special Issue Vol. 25 no. 6. pp.368-382 DOI: 10.1108/JWL-Jul-2012-0052

● Fox, F.E; Doran, N.J; Rodham, K.J; Taylor, G.J; Harris, M.F; O’Connor, M., 2011. ‘Junior doctors’ experiences of personal illness: a qualitative study’ Medical Education Journal, 45(12):1251-61

● Doran, N. J. (2006): A Close-up of a Self-Management in Pain Programme. Talkback for back care: 22-23.

Project Reports:

● Nov 2020 to 2021 Mixed methods study on junior doctors’ career choice following F2GP placement, funded by Health Education England (HEE), University of Exeter, UK

● Sept 2015 to 2019 NIHR funded National Evaluation of Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) across NHS England

● May 2015 to Sept 2016 Evaluation of the South-West Foundation Doctors’ Quality Improvement Programme South-West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN), Exeter, UK


● Doran, N.J; Harris, M. “How practice placements affect F2 doctors’ attitudes to a GP career: a mixed methods study” Final Report for Health Education England and NHS England, November 2021

● Sheaff, R; Bethune, R; Doran, N. J; Ball, S; Medina-Lara, A; Lang, I; Pendray, J; Child, S; Fornasiero, M; McGregor-Harper, J; Harris, M. “The Patient Safety Collaborative Evaluation Study (the PiSCES study). Final Report for the Department of Health, England March 31st 2018 Universities of Exeter and Plymouth through PenCLAHRC and the South-West Academic Health Science Network, UK

● Doran, N. J. “Post Francis - the implementation of Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) across NHS England: A qualitative evaluation” March 2018. Final Report for the South-West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), UK

● Doran, N. J. “A prospective and retrospective qualitative study exploring F1s perceptions and experiences of the South-West Foundation Doctor Quality Improvement programme” September 2016. Final Report for the South West Academic Health Science Network, UK

● Doran, N. J. “Qualitative study exploring the reasons why GP’s leave practice early in their careers and the barriers to their return.” Final Report for NHS England July 2014. Department for Health, University of Bath, UK

● Doran, N.J. "Qualitative study on the impact of the trainee induction week for newly qualified doctors”: Final report for the Severn Deanery Sept 2011 Hope House Surgery, Radstock and School for Health, University of Bath, UK.

● Fox, F.E; Taylor, G.J; Doran, N.J.  “A phenomenological study into foundation trainee’s experience of being a patient and its impact upon career path and practice: Final Report for the Severn Deanery”. July 2010. School for Health, University of Bath, UK.


N Doran PhD thesis and Masters dissertation

● Doran, N.J. (2007): ‘Journeys Through Health-Care: A Qualitative Study Exploring Perceptions and Experiences of Health Seeking for Chronic Back Pain in the North West of England’. PhD Thesis Manchester

● Doran, N.J. (1999): ‘The Medical Gaze and the Anthropological Gaze: Towards an Embodied Understanding of Pain’. MA Dissertation, Medical Anthropology, University of London SOAS.


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Journal articles

Bethune RM, Ball S, Doran N, Harris M, Medina-Lara A, Fornasiero M, Hill M, Lang I, McGregor-Harper J, Sheaff R, et al (2023). How Safety Culture Surveys Influence the Quality and Safety of Healthcare Organisations. Cureus, 15(9).
Sheaff R, Doran N, Harris M, Lang I, Medina-Lara A, Fornasiero M, Ball S, McGregor-Harper J, Bethune R (2021). Categories of context in realist evaluation. Evaluation, 27(2), 184-209. Abstract.
Doran NJ, Bethune R, Watson J, Finucane K, Carson-Stevens A (2018). Empowering junior doctors: a qualitative study of a QI programme in South West England. Postgrad Med J, 94(1116), 571-577. Abstract.  Author URL.
Doran N, Fox F, Rodham K, Taylor G, Harris M (2016). Lost to the NHS: a mixed methods study of why GPs leave practice early in England. BRITISH JOURNAL OF GENERAL PRACTICE, 66(643), E128-E135.  Author URL.
Rodham K, Fox F, Doran N (2015). Exploring analytical trustworthiness and the process of reaching consensus in interpretative phenomenological analysis: lost in transcription. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY, 18(1), 59-71.  Author URL.
Doran NJ (2014). Experiencing Wellness Within Illness: Exploring a Mindfulness-Based Approach to Chronic Back Pain. QUALITATIVE HEALTH RESEARCH, 24(6), 749-760.  Author URL.
Bullock A, Fox F, Barnes R, Doran N, Hardyman W, Moss D, Stacey M (2013). Transitions in medicine: Trainee doctor stress and support mechanisms. Journal of Workplace Learning, 25(6), 368-382. Abstract.
Doran N (2006). A close-up of a self-management in pain programme. Talkback for back care

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External Engagement and Impact

Invited lectures

● December 2016 – Invited lecturer in the medical school at the Universidad de las Americas (UDLA) in Quito, Ecuador

● Feb 2012 – Invited lecturer ‘Mindfulness-based approaches to pain’ Oakhaven Hospice, Hampshire, UK   

● Dec 2011 – Invited lecturer ‘Mindfulness and its clinical application’ Teaching module for 1st year medical students. School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, UK

Media Coverage

The Guardian –

Health Business -

BMJ Careers -

Bath Echo -


Policy interest and Social media

BJGP publication was used to inform a Labour debate on the NHS in the House of Lords 8th September 2016

BJGP publication and Guardian article have been shared by a number of GPs; medical educators and Junior Doctor groups

Trainee induction study was delivered to the Department of Health and in conjunction with a series of pilot studies across the UK, led to policy changes in 2012 whereby the induction training for junior doctors was extended.

Live TV appearance and live Radio Broadcasts: GP leavers study January 2016

BBC Points West

ITV News

BBC Bristol           

LBC Radio                          

BBC Wiltshire

BBC Somerset

Heart FM

Sky News Radio

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