Staff profile

Karen Newberry

Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy


College of Health and Social Care


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I teach on a variety of pre and post registration modules across the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, MSc Pre registration Occupational Therapy and MSc Advanced Occupational Therapy programmes. I am also personal tutor to a range of students. My other roles include taking a lead within the subject area for the marketing of Occupational Therapy programmes at the University.

I am a Royal College of Occupational Therapists accreditor for both pre registration programmes and short courses/CPD opportunities, review journal articles for international rehabilitation publications, and review potential publications for a major healthcare publisher.

Teaching responsibilities

The modules I teach on currently include those that focus on the impact of clinical conditions and life changes on people's occupations, therapeutic relationship skills, Occupational Therapy assessments and interventions, and professional reasoning skills.

Professional interests

Research interests

A focus of my research has been on the use of immersive virtual environments, both within teaching and learning, and their potential use within the clinical setting. Initial research considered the use of a virtual immersive environment in the form of a virtual home, to enable students to develop skills in assessing if the virtual home environment would be suitable for a patient to be safely discharged home from a hospital inpatient stay. This technology has then been piloted to consider its potential use in helping patients plan for hospital discharge.

An additional area of research interest is the value of the therapeutic relationship, particularly in relation to working with patients that find it hard to engage with traditional health and social care services.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

I have presented at a number of local, national and international conferences, including the British Medical Association conference on quality and safety in Paris and at a European conference on Health Care in Higher Education. Presentations have mainly been focused on the use of immersive virtual environments, both within teaching and learning and their potential use within the clinical setting, particularly for people who have experienced a stroke.

Experience in industry

I have significant experience working as an occupational therapist in a wide variety of mental health settings, particularly with people who find it difficult to engage with services and people with schizophrenia. I have worked extensively in both community and inpatient mental health settings.

Additional interests and activities

I am a member of the National Mental Heath Charity RETHINK, and within my local community I am actively involved in voluntary work at a local community arts venue.

Recent publications