Miss Emily-May Barlow


School School of Applied Sciences

Department Division of Health Sciences

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8144


I qualified as a mental health nurse from Keele University in September 2013 and undertook my first employment within NHS Tayside. Having gained clinical experience in inpatient substance misuse, and ‘Intensive Psychiatric Care’, I succeeded in obtaining my current role with Abertay University in November 2016.

In the Summer of 2019, I was promoted to a full time lecturer, whereby I exclusively teach onto the 'Bsc Mental Health Nursing Programme'. My previous role was split 50/50 between NHS Tayside and Abertay University. In NHS Tayside, I worked clinically as a band 5 mental health nurse in a low secure forensic Unit (Rohallion Secure Care Clinic, Murray Royal Hospital Perth). This involves providing direct rehabilitative support and care to male patients with a forensic history. At Abertay I undertake research and teaching responsibilities. My research investigates mental health nursing processes and interventions. My teaching links theory to practice; I am able to provide ‘real life’ context and scenarios to much of the taught theory and demonstrate how the classroom work applies to the clinical environment.

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Ion, R. M., Chouliara, Z., Barlow, E-M. & Kelly, J., 2019, Challenges, opportunities and solutions: exploring issues facing mental health nurse educators as they prepare new pre-registration programmes: Mental Health Practice


Armstrong, J., Barlow, E-M. & Dickens, G., 2019. Can self-compassion enhance professional quality of life in nurses and midwives? Results of a systematic review

(Submitted) in: International Journal of Nursing Studies.


Dickens, G., Ramjan, L., Endrawes, G., Barlow, E., Everett, B., (In Press). Effectiveness and Experiences of Mental Health Nurses in Cases of Medical Emergency and Severe Physiological Deterioration in Patients with Mental Illness: A systematic Review. International Journal of Nursing Studies.


Barlow, E., Dickens, G. L., 2018. Systematic Review of Therapeutic Leave in Inpatient Mental Health Services. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. Vol. 32(4). PP. 638-649.


Dickens, G. L., Barlow, E., 2018. Therapeutic Leave from Secure Mental Health Inpatient Services: A Review. liber amoricum.


Barlow, E., 2014. Acute mental health nursing and prn medication administration: a review of the literature. Mental Health Nursing. Vol. 34 (6). PP. 13-15.


Barlow, E., 2015. A day in the life of Mental Health Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Vol. 35(6). PP. 10-12.


Barlow, E., 2016. How is clinical decision making used when assessing the suicide risk for in-patients? Mental Health Nursing, Vol. 36(8). PP. 14-16.


Therapeutic leave

“Leave occurs when a patient exits the hospital ward with appropriate authorisation, either alone, or accompanied by staff, family, or friends” (DoH, 2007, cited in Barlow and Dickens, 2018) which may be for short periods of time i.e. to go to the local shops, or for lengthier periods i.e. a trial period of leave prior to a patient being discharged from hospital (Care Quality Commission, 2010).

A systematic review of 28 leave studies (Barlow and Dickens, 2018) confirms that leave occurs internationally and across a variety of inpatient mental health services, including civil and forensic hospitals. The overall quality of the 28 studies were poor and as such, the review could not resolve: “basic information about leave, its duration, what inpatients do during leave, or about any objective outcomes, ideal ways of introducing leave, indicators for leave termination, or staff training for facilitating therapeutic leave as opposed to preventing unauthorised leave” [p647] nor provide the characteristics of patients who use leave (apart from reflecting the inpatient population in general).

I am currently studying my MbR, titled: "A descriptive study of therapeutic leave policies within NHS mental health and forensic settings in the UK and the implications for (good) practice". This project will determine the prevalence and content of therapeutic leave policies, for England, Wales and Scotland.



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More Information


Education / Qualifications

Current study

For completion in 2020

Abertay University

Masters by Research


Professional Qualifications

June 2018

Abertay University

PGCert Higher Education Teaching

HEA Fellowship

(Registered as an NMC teacher from September 2019)


September 2013

Keele School of Nursing and Midwifery

First Class Honours in BSc Mental Health Nursing


Post graduate certificates:

January 2015 – May 2015

CPD in ‘Clinical Education’ (20 academic credits at SQCF Level 11)


September 2014 – January 2015

CPD in ‘Clinical Decision Making and Professional Judgment’ (20 academic credits at SQCF Level 11)

Employment History

August 2019- Present

University of Abertay

Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing

Full time academic position. Duties include teaching onto the Bsc Mental Health Nursing Programme, clinical research and co-ordinating the design of the 2020 nursing programme.


November 2016 – August 2019

University of Abertay

Clinical Academic fellow

A spilt 50/50 role, shared between the University and an NHS forensic mental health ward. Whilst at the University, duties included undertaking research projects, preparing and delivering lectures and building educational and healthcare networks. I also worked clinically, as a band 5 registered staff nurse.


November 2013 – November 2016

NHS Tayside

Registered Mental Health Nurse

Experience within two different specialist areas; an ‘Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit’ and an ‘In-patient Detoxification Unit’ (for both alcohol and opiate detoxification).


October 2010 – October 2013

Direct Payments, Stoke-on-Trent,

Personal Assistant

Support provided to a young female who has a learning disability in addition to physical and mental health needs.


November 2009 – September 2010

John Munroe Hospital,

Healthcare Assistant

Compassionate and dignified care delivered to older adults with severe and enduring mental illness in a secure but homely environment.


June 2008 – January 2009 and March 2009 to November 2009

Monarch Airlines,

Cabin Crew

Held responsibility for the safety of passengers; specially trained to deal with security and emergency situations. Excellent customer service skills developed.



I am Abertay University’s representative within Mental Health Nurses Academic UK (MHNAUK); this is an established group, formed of representatives from over 60 Higher Education Institutions, who have an authority on mental health nursing education and research. My role requires triannual attendance at meetings, for knowledge dissemination and discussion, and feeding back relevant information to the rest of the mental health nursing team at Abertay.


I have been approached to by a ‘Children, Young People and Families Support Officer’ from the ‘Royal National Institute of Blind People’ to collaborate in developing a session on ‘promoting good mental health’ for attendees at their seasonal ‘family days’. This opportunity was offered to be after their institute viewed my social media activity and were “blown away by [my] insight, energy and enthusiasm” whereby I suggested society begin talking openly to family and friends about mental health.


I am Abertay University’s representative within Mental Health Nurses Academic UK (MHNAUK); this is an established group, formed of representatives from over 60 Higher Education Institutions, who have an authority on mental health nursing education and research. My role requires triannual attendance at meetings, for knowledge dissemination and discussion, and feeding back relevant information to the rest of the mental health nursing team at Abertay. At the most recent meeting, the MHNAUK group discussed the implementation of the new NMC Education standards; other HEI’s shared how they have applied the standards into their practice documentation, which Abertay now have access to for reference.


As a piece of outreach work, in association with Abertay University, I attended and presented at a Borderline Personality Disorder Support Group last year. This was in liaison with a 3rd year mental health nursing student; she was on a clinical placement and found the group’s members (those with BPD and family / friends/ carers) had difficulty in accessing legitimate information about this diagnosis. In collaboration with a colleague, we presented some research about BPD and discussed its application for living with this diagnosis. This was a highly emotive session but the feedback from the group, and the group’s facilitators, was that it had been extremely valuable.

Leadership, Management and Administrative Roles / Experience

I supervise nursing students with their Bsc honours dissertation projects and, last summer (2018), I supervised a student volunteer research assistant; this was an opportunity for Abertay students to gain research experience, with supervision from staff.

In collaboration with a counselling colleague, we successfully gained funding last month for Abertay’s ’Students Consultant Project‘. This is a pilot data collection project, forming part of a larger ’legacy document project’. As part of the pilot, we intend to establish what student nurses would like to learn from their qualified peers, in order to generate content for a legacy document next year.

To date we have designed the pilot project, recruited 3 students, obtained appropriate ethical permission, designed an appropriate online questionnaire and distributed the same for data collection purposes. Over the coming months, I will support the students to analyse this data and produce a summary report of their findings.

As part of these supervisory roles, I set goals and expectations for the research activities, collaboratively organise a time manageable workload, and provide timely feedback on students’ progress.

Other Scholarly and Professional Activities

May 2019: ‘Future of Mental Health Nursing Conference’

I was the lead academic in orchestrating the ’Future of Mental Health Nursing Conference’, which took place on 13th May 2019. This was a student led conference, supported by MHNAUK and in its 4th year, and was a prestigious event for Abertay to be involved with.

As part of my involvement, I recruited Abertay student candidates (for the role of ‘student conference coordinator’, which included advertising for and evaluating their applications) and directly supporting these students in organising this event. I have provided practical guidance, pastoral support, brain stormed ideas, and have liaised with my own networks to connect this student group with appropriate mental health organisations. Additionally, I ran the conference’s social media channel, providing daily announcements, engaging with attendees and running online competitions; after 8 months of this, my contributions more than tripled the conference’s number of followers.

The event was a huge success: we sourced and spent over £40,000 (by selling recruitment stands) and sold 500 tickets, providing celebrity guest speakers, workshops, and interactive activities. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive; I networked widely and was able to advertise the contributions of Abertay University. Since the event, I have already been approached by various organisations about future outreach work which myself and Abertay could be involved in.

During the conference I had an impromptu chat with Luisa Omielan, a Bafta award winning comedian who actively speaks about mental health; we spent 20 minutes discussing nurses mental health, societal expectations and stigma. This was recorded and live streamed via her social media channels and to date, has been viewed over 6300 times.

A summary video from the conference can be found here: https://vimeo.com/340221807

Twitter page: @FutureMHN_Conf

 My interview with Luisa Omelan about all things MH nursing: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=325759474769597&id=139304369434763&sfnsn=mo&__xts__[0]=68.ARC_zHsmwvcmiyehoYpFZViOrTPZhW2TZaaG-3SoH4sojYsrDqd_xSeIJAKur5-O0LnR_AuUMi9LctfnCMS91kENG2AI2DBCYAicVEZ-K8iDO6tiYJMtwDkm4Hyk3Jg3neYlZj-0Fff4-BvIaC1MEInSvpIAUNnJPb0_ktBocxsPaUiyYUKbsm-lEUqtaMoPB4bOHiKfImXs6BQA0pxii4vHdroUDLx3IIOwz2MfkJgQ5xV9No603TvB--MXayXmFpNyKGS1fYpXRt4wZDI-tAlvOQ&__tn__=-UK-R

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