Dr Lynn Furber

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Nursing and Midwifery

Research group(s): Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre (NMRC)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 201 3974

E: lfurber@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/nursingandmidwifery

 

Personal profile

Dr Lynn Furber works at DMU as a part time Senior Lecturer within the School of Nursing, and she also works part time as a Senior Research Nurse within the Oncology directorate at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Lynn’s research interests all aspire to promote personalised care for patients, particularly within the medical consultation and the study of communication and interaction in the practitioner patient encounter, particularly in regards to the delivery of difficult and sensitive information.

Research group affiliations

  • Centre for the Promotion of Excellence in Palliative Care (CPEP)
  • Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre
  • Communication Skills Training Research Group at LOROS

Publications and outputs 

  • An exploration of how women in the UK perceive the provision of care received in an early pregnancy assessment unit: an interpretive phenomenological analysis
    An exploration of how women in the UK perceive the provision of care received in an early pregnancy assessment unit: an interpretive phenomenological analysis Furber, L.; Norton, Wendy Objective The objective of the study was to explore how women experience care within an early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU) and how they are helped to understand, reconcile and make sense of their loss and make informed decisions about how their care will be managed following a first trimester miscarriage. Design This was a single centre, prospective qualitative study. An interpretive phenomenological analysis approach was used to interpret the participants’ meanings of their experiences. It is an ideographic approach that focuses in depth on a small set of cases to explore how individuals make sense of a similar experience. Setting An EPAU in a large teaching hospital in the Midlands that provides care to women in their early pregnancy, including those experiencing pregnancy loss. Participants A purposive sample of 10 women were recruited to this study. All of the women were either miscarrying at the time of this study or had miscarried within the previous few weeks. Results Six superordinate themes in relation to women’s experiences of miscarriage were identified: (1) the waiting game, (2) searching for information, (3) management of miscarriage: no real choice, (4) the EPAU environment, (5) communication: some room for improvement and (6) moving on. Conclusions This study found that improvements are required to ensure women and their partners receive a streamlined, informative, supportive and continuous package of care from the point they first see their general practitioner or midwife for support to being discharged from the EPAU. The provision of individualised care, respect for women’s opinions and appropriate clinical information is imperative to those experiencing miscarriage to help them gain a degree of agency within an unfamiliar situation and one in which they feel is out of their control.
  • Does the delivery of diagnostic news affect the likelihood of whether or not patients ask questions about the results? A conversation analytic study
    Does the delivery of diagnostic news affect the likelihood of whether or not patients ask questions about the results? A conversation analytic study Murtagh, G. M.; Furber, L.; Thomas, A. L. This paper was produced following a collaboration between researchers at Imperial College London, University of Leicester and De Montfort University. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Patients' experiences of an initial consultation in oncology: Knowing and not Knowing.
    Patients' experiences of an initial consultation in oncology: Knowing and not Knowing. Furber, L.; Bonas, S.; Murtagh, G. M.; Thomas, A. L. Objectives The aim of this paper was to explore how patients experience an initial oncology consultation. This study was part of a larger mixed methods research project designed to address the issue of improving communication and enhancing patient satisfaction with oncology consultations. Design Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to interpret the participants' meanings of their experiences in their initial consultation. It is an idiographic approach that focuses in depth on a small set of cases in order to explore how individuals make sense of a similar experience. This retains the complexity and diversity of experiences. Methods In the larger study, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 36 patients as soon as possible after a consultation in oncology to explore their experiences. Five cases were selected for this study on the basis of homogeneity; they had all undergone some prior investigations of their illness, and this was their first consultation in oncology; they all provided rich accounts relating to how they had experienced the consultation. Results Patients' experiences of being given their diagnosis differed both between participants and within the same participant. Various defences seemed to be used in order to protect them from fully engaging with the knowledge they were given. Their accounts of what they wished to know in the consultation could be affected by a desire to protect themselves and/or family members from distress and by the practical need to know that may vary over time. Conclusion The complexity of patients' needs and preferences regarding information means that the doctor's role in communicating that information in a patient-centred way is difficult. The findings are discussed in relation to open awareness theory as to how the emotional context of the consultation process affects information needs. Doctors need strategies to elicit information from patients about their needs from the consultation. This needs to be done at the start of consultations and throughout investigations and treatment, as needs may change over time.
  • Improving consultations in oncology: The development of a novel consultation aid.
    Improving consultations in oncology: The development of a novel consultation aid. Furber, L.; Murtagh, G. M.; Bonas, S.; Bankart, J.; Thomas, A. L. Background: The way in which patients receive bad news in a consultation can have a profound effect in terms of anxiety, depression and subsequent adjustment. Despite investment in well-researched communication skills training and availability of decision-making aids, communication problems in oncology continue to be encountered. Methods: We conducted a mixed-methods study in a large UK Cancer Centre to develop a novel consultation aid that could be used jointly by patients and doctors. Consultations were audio-recorded and both the doctors and the patients were interviewed. We used conversation analysis to analyse the consultation encounter and interpretative phenomenological analysis to analyse the interviews. Key themes were generated to inform the design of the aid. Results: A total of 16 doctors were recruited into the study along with 77 patients. Detailed analysis from 36 consultations identified key themes (including preparation, information exchange, question-asking and decision making), which were subsequently addressed in the design of the paper-based aid. Conclusions: Using detailed analysis and observation of oncology consultations, we have designed a novel consultation aid that can be used jointly by doctors and patients. It is not tumour-site specific and can potentially be utilised by new and follow-up consultations.
  • Patient initiated questions: How can doctors encourage them and improve the consulation process? A qualitative study
    Patient initiated questions: How can doctors encourage them and improve the consulation process? A qualitative study Murtagh, G. M.; Furber, L.; Thomas, A. L. Objective: To investigate the circumstances under which patients initiate direct questions in oncology consultations. Design: Conversation analysis of 47 consultations between oncologists and patients with cancer. Setting: An oncology clinic at a teaching hospital in the East Midlands. Participants: 16 Oncologists and 67 cancer patients. Outcome measure: Patient initiated direct questions. Results: On the whole patients’ direct questions are designed to seek specific information regarding, the cancer itself, treatment options or their experience of symptoms. When patients do ask direct questions they typically follow the announcement of test results where some reference to the details of those results, is provided. More specifically, there seems to be a relation between showing the patient their scan/X-ray results, patient involvement and patient-initiated direct questions. Higher levels of patient-initiated direct questions were clustered around occasions where doctors provided information and explanations of test results (12 consultations) sometimes with direct reference to scan or X-ray results (7 consultations). Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of careful explanation of diagnostic evidence as a factor contributing to increased patient involvement. More specifically, the findings suggest that, when appropriate, invoking diagnostic evidence (eg, scan or X-ray results) is an effective way of increasing levels of patient question asking. Doctors need to be able to encourage patient question asking to ensure that patients have at their disposal an important means through which they can determine their information needs. Although these results come from a study of oncology consultations, the findings may be transferable to other clinical contexts.
  • Investigating communication in cancer consultations: what can be learned from doctor and patient accounts of their experience?
    Investigating communication in cancer consultations: what can be learned from doctor and patient accounts of their experience? Furber, L.; Cox, K.; Murphy, R.; Steward, W. This study investigated how doctors and patients diagnosed with advanced incurable cancer experienced the disclosure of bad news. The intention was to gain contrasting perspectives of the processes involved in oncology consultations. Sixteen doctors and 16 patients from a cancer centre in the UK participated in the study. A series of consultations were observed and audio recorded, and the perspectives of doctors, patients and relatives were investigated through semi-structured interviews. Participants were invited to describe how they experienced and felt about the disclosure of information over a period of time following a specific consultation. Analysis was based on a constant comparative method. This research suggests that patients control what they do or do not do with information to meet their own needs and objectives, but doctors do not necessarily appreciate this. Doctors do not always prepare patients for what is happening to them in an active open awareness context, and this can be stressful for some patients. The results indicate that communication is not just about one person making decisions. They also indicate that in many cases more success could be gained from finding out how patients prefer to manage and control the exchange of bad news, at different points, through their care pathway.
  • Enhancing communication in oncology outpatient consultations: critical reflections from doctors.
    Enhancing communication in oncology outpatient consultations: critical reflections from doctors. Furber, L.; Murphy, R.; Cox, K.; Steward, W. The experiences of patients diagnosed with advanced incurable cancer and the doctors who conducted their medical consultations were studied in order to im-prove the understanding of what happens in consultations, when bad news is disclosed. The major objective of the study was to critically reflect upon doctor-patient commu-nication, in such situations, with a view to considering future strategies for doctors’ continuing professional development.Sixteen patients and sixteen Oncologists, from a cancer centre in the UK were recruited into this ethno-graphic study. One hundred and fifteen episodes of data were collected from audio recorded consultations; inter-views with doctors and patients and their relatives and observations of consultations. These data were analysed using a constant comparison method.Interactions between doctors and patients are complex and consultations can be challenging for both ofthem. Some doctors spoke openly about their need for additional support to enhance their communication related competencies within Oncology consultations. These doctors wanted to observe their peers conducting consultations. They also wanted to receive feedback about their own clinical practices. These doctors stated that they wanted an open culture whereby they could talk freely about difficult and emotionally challenging consultations without fear of being considered incompetent by their Consultants, who act in a clinical supervisory role.To help practitioners consolidate their practice in such settings it is necessary to develop better collaborations among practitioners within clinical practice. Providing individual supervisory sessions or group work-shops can facilitate reflective learning and provide an open and supportive learning culture.
  • Patient preferences for the delivery of bad news: Experiences of a UK centre.
    Patient preferences for the delivery of bad news: Experiences of a UK centre. Brown, V; Parker, P; Furber, L.; Thomas, A. L. The primary aim of this study was to assess how patients would prefer to be given their cancer diagnosis in a typical UK cancer centre. Two hundred and forty-four patients attending the oncology outpatient department at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK, were recruited. Patients were invited to complete the Measure of Patients' Preferences questionnaire, write comments on their own experience of the breaking bad news consultation and choose their preferred role in decision making. Over 90% of questionnaires were completed. Patients rated the items addressing the message content of the consultation as more important than the facilitative or the supportive aspects. Over 80% of patients wrote a detailed account of their experiences, of which 60% were satisfied with the consultation. Most of the patients who were dissatisfied commented on the unsympathetic or pessimistic manner of the doctor. The majority of patients wanted a collaborative role in decision making. Regarding the cancer diagnosis, the majority of patients have information needs, want to be involved in treatment decisions and know their prognosis. The difficulty for physicians is how to meet individual information needs, give hope, but not deliver unrealistic expectations.
  • Completion of the audit cycle: Standardised nurse-led information for patients.
    Completion of the audit cycle: Standardised nurse-led information for patients. Sharma, R.; Furber, L.; Symonds, P.; Granger, L. Background::It is increasingly accepted that patients want information about their proposed treatment, and that provision of such information may alleviate fear and may improve the process of obtaining informed consent. It is not yet clear what form such information should take. Objective::Based on differences shown previously between patients receiving standard treatment and those in clinical trials, a system of routine appointments with a chemotherapy nurse at least one day before the patient offered consent to treatment was established for all patients receiving chemotherapy in Leicestershire, at which time patients were given standardised written information regarding outpatient chemotherapy and specific drugs. Method::In order to complete the audit cycle, the previous questionnaire study was repeated. Results::From 160 questionnaires distributed, 131 complete replies were received. Compared with the previous audit, a significantly higher proportion of patients receiving standard chemotherapy remembered being given written information about chemotherapy from a nurse before starting their treatment and remembered signing a consent form. The significant difference in feelings of involvement in the decision to have chemotherapy between patients receiving standard chemotherapy and those in clinical trials detected in the previous audit was no longer detectable, suggesting the clinical effectiveness of the intervention performed. Conclusion::Implementation of nurse-led appointments with provision of standardised information before formal consent being taken should be studied further for its potential to improve patients’ involvement in medical decision making.
  • A phase II study of Caelyx, liposomal doxorubicin: Lack of activity in patients with advanced gastric cancer.
    A phase II study of Caelyx, liposomal doxorubicin: Lack of activity in patients with advanced gastric cancer. Thomas, A. L.; Byrne, K; Furber, L.; Steward, W. P. S. PURPOSE: A phase II study was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of Caelyx (liposomal doxorubicin) in patients with advanced or metastatic gastric cancer. METHODS: A total of 25 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma were treated with Caelyx 45 mg/m2 every 28 days as first-line therapy for advanced disease. Patients were treated until tumour progression or unacceptable toxicity. RESULTS: One patient was withdrawn from the study after experiencing a severe infusion reaction. Of the 24 evaluable patients, 1 had a partial response, 7 had stable disease and the others progressed. Side effects, in particular palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesia and haematological toxicity, were minor. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that while this dose and schedule of Caelyx in this patient group is acceptable, further studies with this regimen cannot be recommended due to the lack of antitumour activity seen.

Click here to view a full listing of Lynn Furber's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Cancer
  • Palliative Care
  • Communicating sensitive information/bad news
  • Doctor and patient interactions
  • Continued Professional Development – experiential learning and reflective practice
  • Decision Making
  • Consultation aids

Areas of teaching

  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Research
  • Consultation Skills

Qualifications

University of Nottingham PhD: Investigating Interactions: How do doctors and patients experience the disclosure of significant information in the advanced cancer setting and how do these experiences enhance practice? 2010.

  • University of Central England BSc (HONS) in Clinical Nursing, 2000
  • University of Central England, ENB 237 Oncology Nursing, 2000
  • Staffordshire University, Continuing Care of the Dying and Family, 1998
  • Staffordshire University, Teaching and Assessing in Clinical Practice, 1995
  • University of Wolverhampton, Diploma in Higher Education, 1994
  • Staffordshire and Shropshire College of Nursing and Midwifery, Registered Nurse, 1994

Courses taught

  • Module Leader for Chemotherapy, NMAH 3307
  • Module Leader for Cancer – Prevention and Detection, NMAH 3305
  • Module Leader for Cancer- Diagnosis to Survivorship, NMAH 3304
  • Module Leader for Undergraduate Dissertation Module, NRMW 3010
  • Lynn also teaches on the Masters Communication course, and Consultation Skills Module and research module within the School of Nursing

Membership of professional associations and societies

Royal College of Nursing, Capitalising on the Contribution of Research Nurses in the UK, 2011 – onwards

UKONS - 2013

Professional licences and certificates

Staffordshire and Shropshire College of Nursing and Midwifery, Registered Nurse, 1994

Conference attendance

  • Furber L. Murtagh G. Bonas S. Thomas A. (2012) Developing a consultation aid: An integrated approach to improve doctor-patient interaction and satisfaction. Poster Presentation, EACH conference in St Andrews, 4th-7th September
  • Furber, L. (2012) Learning lessons from oncology consultations: Breaking bad news. Oral Presentation at BTOG in Dublin. 27-28th January.
  • Furber,L. Murphy,R. Steward,W. Cox,K. (2010) Learning to Communicate through reflective practice and experiential learning: Lessons for Doctors? Poster Presentation at EACH Conference in Verona. 5-8th Sept. 
  • Bonas,S. Furber, L. Murtagh, G. Thomas, A. (2010) How do patients and doctors experience consultations in oncology: an interpretive phenomenological study. Poster presentation at EACH conference in Verona. 5th-8th Sept.
  • Murtagh, G. Bonas, S. Furber, L. Thomas, A. (2010) Symptom Residue in Oncology Consultations. Oral Presentation at EACH Conference in Verona. 5th-8th Sept.
  • Murtagh,G. Furber,L. Bonas,S. Bankart, J. McElhinney, L. Thomas, A. (2009) Using conversation analysis in Oncology to develop a consultation aid: Methodology and early results. Poster Presentation at British Psychosocial Oncology Society Conference in Cardiff, 3-4 December.
  • Furber,L. Cox, K. Murphy, R. Steward, W. (2008) Investigating Interactions in the oncology outpatient clinic: How do doctors and health care professionals experience the disclosure of significant information in the advanced cancer setting? Poster presentation. RCN International Research Conference in Liverpool. 8-11th April.

Current research students

2nd Supervisor to a Masters student and 2nd Supervisor to a PhD Student, due to commence in October 2013.

Externally funded research grants information

2009 NIHR, RfPB grant. (Thomas, Murtagh, Bonas, Furber) Using conversation analysis in Oncology to develop a consultation aid: An integrated approach to improve doctor-patient interaction and enhance patient satisfaction. (£242,224).

Internally funded research project information

University of Nottingham PhD Studentship: Centre for Social Research in Health and Health Care.

Professional esteem indicators

Refereeing for Journals:

International Journal of Medical Education

Patient Education and Counselling

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