Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society

Nicola Boydell

THIS Institute Senior Research Fellow


Photo of Nicola Boydell

Nicola Boydell is a THIS (The Healthcare Improvement Studies) Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Centre for Biomedicine Self and Society and Usher Institute. Nicola’s work sits at the intersection of medical sociology and healthcare improvement studies, and her current project is exploring how participatory approaches can be used and extended within sexual and reproductive health care, with a particular focus on abortion care. To date her work has focused on exploring social and cultural dimensions of sexual and reproductive health and care. Nicola is passionate about interdisciplinary health research that works collaboratively with third sector, clinical and health policy partners.  


Funded by The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute, Nicola is the PI of a 3.5-year collaborative project focusing on the application of participatory approaches in service improvement within sexual and reproductive health services. The project is informed by participatory approaches to healthcare improvement research, and is exploring how sexual and reproductive healthcare design and improvement is currently practiced. The project is being developed in collaboration with service providers and users, and will work towards the co-design of practical resources that can be used to support the involvement of other service users in work to improve sexual and reproductive health services. 

Nicola is currently a co-investigator on two abortion care related projects: a Scotland wide evaluation of early medical abortion (PI Prof Sharon Cameron) examining changes to care implemented in response to COVID-19; and a qualitative study of abortion-seekers experiences of post-abortion contraception (PI - Dr Jeni Harden).  These studies build on her recent work as Co-I on an NHS Lothian funded qualitative research study that explored the views and experiences people seeking and providing telemedicine early medical abortion (EMA) as part of the NHS Lothian service introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic shaped abortion seekers’ experiences of EMA at home, and health professionals’ perspectives on the rapid shift to the provision of a ‘remote’ telemedicine abortion service, with the aim of identifying opportunities for service improvement and to understand how to better support people accessing EMA. 


  • Intercalated BMedSci, Bioethics, Law & Society, Tutor
  • MBChB, Social and Ethical Aspects of Medicine, Tutor
  • Master of Public Health, Dissertation Supervisor
  • College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, PhD Supervisor