Dr Julie Watson

Senior Research Fellow, Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experienceof Dementia/Lecturer Nursing Studies


I have a multidisciplinary background having a first degree in Physiology from Queen’s University , Belfast, then training as Registered Nurse in Edinburgh after which I did an MSc in Health Promotion (1997) an MRes in Sociology (2010) and  PhD (Sociology) (2015) at the University of Edinburgh. I worked as a staff nurse at St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh for 11 years before moving into research.

I have worked for several years on various projects developing palliative and end of life care in care homes. My PhD examined relationship-centred care between care staff and people with advanced dementia in a care home and the possibilities of holding each other in relationship. I am keen to enage the next generation of student nurses in thinking about dementia care and care home nursing and have worked on developing the Nursing Studies curriculum in relation to care home nursing. I have worked on an ESRC secondary data analysis project examining the changing dynamics in social relationships after a diagnosis of dementia. I also worked with colleagues at the Centre for Dementia Prevention examining what outcomes matter in developing new treatments for Alzheimers' disease. My current research is developing and testing a post-diagnostic support programme for people after a diagnosis of dementia (Alzheimer's Society) and also evaluating the feasibility of providing online support to care home staff during the COVID-19 pandemic (Chief Scientist's Office/ESRC Impact Accelerator). 


PhD, MRes (Sociology), MSc (Health Promotion), BSc(Hons)(Physiology), RGN, FHEA

Undergraduate teaching

Teaching BN Nursing Studies 'What is Nursing'

Theses supervisison

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Areas of interest for supervision:

  • Care homes, advanced dementia, palliative care


Research summary

I am interested in care home research, particularly how best to support people with dementia to live and die well in care homes, how to support relationship-centred care with people with advanced dementia, and how to support the care home workforce, particularly around palliative and end of life care. I am also interested in researching the experience of living with dementia from the perspective of people with dementia. I am motivated by the need to dispel the fear prevalent in our society of dementia and care homes and to give value to the place of care in all of our lives as integral to being human and living in a supportive community.

Current research interests

Alzheimer's Society - Beyond the Margins: Developing an Online Personal Development Programme with, by and for people living with dementia who are not accessing existing services and support Feb 2019-Jan 2022 CSO COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund - Evaluating Online Supportive Conversations and Reflections (OSCaRs) with care home staff (partnership with Edinburgh Napier University) - June 2020-November 2020 ESRC Impact Accelerator Grant - As above match funded - June 2020-November 2020

Past research interests

ARUK ePSOM – What outcomes matter to people with memory problems in developing new treatments - September 2017-March 2018 ESRC Impact Accelerator - Role of the Arts in Research on Dementia (February 2017-September 2017) Inciting Dialogue and Disruption in Dementia Project - Funded by ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (March 2015 to July 2017) Bridges Initiative and Midlothian Gold Standards Framework Project - Developing palliative care in care homes

Knowledge exchange


Film Beyond Words

Film - The Good News Behind the Bad headlines


Affiliated research centres

View all 12 publications on Research Explorer

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