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Professor Bernie Carter

Professor - Research & Innovation Team

Nursing & Midwifery



Bernie is a children’s nurse who trained at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London. Post-qualification she worked clinically within children’s surgery, neonatal intensive care, children’s high dependency and children’s intensive care settings in various hospitals in the North West of England. Whilst in practice she found she had more questions than answers; this was the start of a research career, although she did not know this at the time. She undertook her undergraduate degree and her PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). After leaving clinical practice she worked in Higher Education at MMU and the University of Central Lancashire. She was the Director of the Children’s Nursing Research Unit (CNRU) at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust from 2008-2021.

Bernie moved to Edge Hill University in February 2016 to contribute to the rapidly growing Children, Young People and Families Research theme. 

Bernie absolutely believes that research can be fun and is good for the soul, not least because it provides many challenges and opportunities for problem-solving. She tries to pass on this passion about research to ‘her’ doctoral students, who are undertaking a wide range of child and family related projects both in the UK and abroad. Bernie sees her role as Director of Studies as extremely rewarding and she loves providing guidance and support to her students and seeing them and their research projects develop. She is firmly committed to ensuring that students have a good experience of undertaking their research. She has 34 successful PhD completions.

Bernie has published around 200 peer-reviewed articles and more than 60 editorials. She has written or edited books on pain and children’s nursing and contributed chapters to books. She was the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Child Health Care (Sage Publications) for 23 years and stepped down from the role in 2018. Bernie is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Bernie is President of the Association of British Paediatric Nurses. She is a founder member of the International Network of Child and Family Centred Care and co-founder of the Somatic Practice and Chronic Pain Network.

Research Interests

Bernie’s research focuses on children and young people whose lives are disrupted by pain, illness, disability, complex health care needs and disadvantage, and the ways in which this affects their parents, brothers and sisters and family life. Her work aims to explore issues of importance to children, young people and their families to improve their everyday lives and the treatment provided and services they receive. Bernie’s research interests also encompass interventions that aim to promote best practice such as paediatric early warning scoring.

Much of Bernie’s research is qualitative; in particular her work is narrative, appreciative, participatory and arts/activities-based. She utilises a range of data-generation techniques consonant with children’s ways of expression, including visual art-based techniques and photography as well as interviews, focus groups and workshops. She works closely with children and families at all stages of the research process to ensure that her work is not only robust but is also grounded in the lives of the participants.

She is passionate about undertaking, implementing and disseminating research as she believes it can and does contribute to making things better for children and their families. She is interested in using innovative ways of disseminating work including the use of dance, performance, animation and the power of the written and spoken word.

Bernie’s current work includes studies addressing: holding children for procedures; romantic relationships and young people with chronic pain; somatic practice and chronic pain; remote consutations and children with arthritis or asthma; early warning systems for critical deterioration of children in hospital; sleep and children with epilepsy; parent champions and bronchiolitis; and child centred care.