About us

Meet the RealTalk Team

Sharan Harris-Christensen

Manager of Virtual Education Centre in PEOLC & Communication Skills

Sharan’s focus is developing the workforce in Derbyshire, within palliative and end of life care, communication skills 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.


Wendy Spencer

Administrator / Co-ordinator for Clinical Education

Wendy coordinates a suite of training courses and online resources, aimed at individuals and organisations who need to manage emotionally complex situations, end of life care and bereavement. Wendy is based with the Training and Education team at Treetops Hospice. Wendy provides support, monitoring and ongoing development to the RealTalk training website, including processing and support for all subscribers. Wendy provides support, monitoring and ongoing development for the Derbyshire Alliance End of Life Care website and all subscribers to the platform.

Dr Marco Pino

Senior 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 RealTalk 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.

View Marco’s Publications

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

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.