The Evidence Base

The evidence base is core in underpinning Real Talk resources.  This is built upon the foundations of filming real consultations in a UK hospice, published articles in peer reviewed journals and piloting the Real Talk intervention.

In this section we will share our ongoing work in developing the resources as we continue to publish work and add modules to the website.

The ‘In a Nutshell’ series provide a user friendly summary detailing each peer reviewed journal article.

Our Team


Professor Ruth Parry

Professor of Human Communication and Interaction, National institute of Health Research Career Development Fellow, Loughborough University

Ruth started her professional career in NHS physiotherapy, specialising in healthcare of older people. Ruth then moved into a research career, specialising in video-based conversation analytic research on healthcare communication. Initially, Ruth worked mainly on physiotherapy communication, currently works on palliative and end of life care communication. Ruth specialises in studying how people communicate about difficult, sensitive issues, and on how empathy and dignity are actually enacted in practical ways through how we communicate. Ruth is particularly keen on making conversation analytic perspectives and research findings more available and accessible to healthcare practitioners and educators. Her work is currently funded by an National institute of Health Research Fellowship.

View Ruth’s publications

Becky Whittaker

VERDIS ‘Real Talk’ Project Development Manager, Loughborough University

Becky is the programme development manager for the ‘Real Talk’ end-of-life communications skills training intervention. Becky is a registered nurse with extensive clinical experience in leadership and care delivery of palliative and end-of-life care in a range of settings, including the NHS and voluntary sector. Becky is an experienced educator and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and focuses primarily on communication skills in end of life care, engaging practitioners in end-of-life interprofessional learning and evaluation of impacts on practice.

Dr Marco Pino

Lecturer in communication and social interaction at Loughborough University

Marco studies end-of-life communication in hospice care using an approach called conversation analysis. Working with other members of the Real Talk team Marco has examined the ways in which hospice doctors engage patients in conversations about the end of life; as well as ways in which hospice patients request information about their prognosis, and ways in which doctors respond. Marco is currently involved in a study of patients’ cues about end-of-life concerns. He also researches communication within bereavement support and in other social and healthcare settings.

Dr Laura Jenkins

Research Fellow, Loughborough University

Laura’s PhD analysed how children talk about pain at home, with their families. Since then Laura has been involved in medical communication training. In 2015 Laura became part of the VERDIS project team, looking at different aspects of how doctors and patients talk about palliative pain, including how to encourage patients to describe their pain, and how pain scales are used. Look out for module three which will focus aspects of pain conversations, assessment and management – due for launch in Autumn 2019.

Professor Christina Faull

Consultant in palliative medicine and Research lead at LOROS, Honorary Professor at University of Leicester

Christina was a co-applicant for the original grant from The Health Foundation and continues as a member of the VERDIS project team.

Christina provides clinical expertise and insight to design, analysis and dissemination of findings. Christina is involved in the education of a wide range of professionals supporting them to develop skills in effective communication to provide high quality care and address the needs of patients and their families.

Sharan Watson

Post Graduate Lecturer, University of Derby

Sharan teaches in palliative and EOLC, communication skills, advanced practice, and non-medical prescribing and Chairs the Derbyshire Alliance for End of Life Care. Sharan is a facilitator for Real Talk communication resources, as well as being an advisory member of the VERDIS team, a facilitator for Advanced Communication skills and Sage & Thyme Communications Skills. Sharan’s nursing background has predominantly been working as a Macmillan Matron, Community Matron and End-of-Life Care facilitator. Sharan has an ongoing interest in the evidence around impacts of training and education on the confidence/competence of learners. Drawing all experience and skills together, Sharan is an Expert Adviser for the NICE Centre for Guidelines in Adult Palliative Care.