Dr Christine Nightingale

Associate Professor

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health
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Dr Christine Nightingale originally trained as a registered nurse for people with learning disabilities.  This experience has influenced her whole career and her advocacy for fairness, equality, equity and social justice, most especially in health and education. Chris believes strongly that designing inclusive provision impacts positively on everyone. Her PhD focussed on access to health care for people with learning disabilities, addressing attitudes, social and health policy, experiences of women with learning disability and the lack of accessible health information about everyday health screening procedures.  Chris has worked in four UK universities, in third sector organisations and the NHS (in hospitals, community and commissioning). She continues to practice clinically whenever she can.

Chris has always had a deep interest in how people learn and how curriculum design, teaching and assessment strategies can better support learning.  Her particular interest is in inclusion and in inclusive approaches.  For many years Chris has led on research and development projects which have explored inclusive teaching and learning across the post 16 education sectors. She is a reflective and reflexive educator and appreciates feedback on her work.  In recent years she has explored how lecturers can individually and collectively review their learning resources, including on presentations, assessment mechanisms and learning platforms, to increase the diversity and relevance of the curriculum for all learners.

Chris has taught across all fields of nursing, and to allied health professionals, medics and social care staff. Most recently her responsibilities have included professionalism studies, cognitive health and disability studies, and health inequalities. She is a licenced Mental Health First Aid trainer and a Senior HEA Fellow.

Chris has supervised Master’s and doctoral students to completion.

Addressing inequalities has been a driving passion for Chris.  Her PhD, completed in 1997, identified the systemic barriers to cervical screening, and how the attitudes of health professionals impacted on the experiences of women with learning disabilities. This led to work on the sexual experiences and sexual health and education needs of people with learning disabilities.  Chris has worked as a LeDeR mortality reviewer, assessing the health and social care provision offered and delivered to people with learning disabilities during their lifetimes, up to the point that they died.  She is acutely aware that there is still much to be explored and changed.

Chris has completed a number of commissioned research projects on the experiences of disabled staff working in further and higher education, led a national inquiry, and explored the ways in which the concept of equality and equity can be embedded into education for adults.

From her recent work in an accessible vaccination clinic, Chris has even greater interest in exploring how to make organisational changes to address health inequalities with health and social care providers.

Publications and Conferences:

  • Nightingale, C. (2023) Learning Disability Case Study Chapter in Hubbard, J. (ed) Dilemmas and Decision Making in Nursing: A Practice-based Approach, Critical Publishing.
  • Nightingale, C. (2016) Race Equality Charter and Risk blog, ECU, January 2016.
  • Nightingale, C. (2015) ‘Academic teaching staff: developing equality and diversity skills, knowledge and values’ London, Equality Challenge Unit.
  • Ewens, D. and Nightingale C (2011) Enabling Equality, Disabled staff in HE. London, Equality Challenge Unit.
  • Nightingale, C, Ewens, D.(2010) Equity Road, Leicester, Niace.
  • Nightingale, C (2008) ‘Review of Disability Equality Schemes’, commissioned and published by LLUK.
  • Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning (2007) From compliance to culture change: disabled people working in lifelong learning’, Leicester, Niace. (lead and author)
  • DfES. (2007) Safer Learning: Safer Practice, London DfES. (author)
  • Nightingale, C (2007) E-guideline - Enabling technology for deaf learners’, Leicester, NIACE.
  • Maudslay L and Nightingale C. (2006) Collaborative and partnership working’. LSDA: London.
  • Nightingale, C. (2006) ‘The Marvellous Medicine: Expert paper on the relationship between learning and health and well-being’, Commissioned by the NHS ‘Ways of learning task group’, Department of Health.
  • Nightingale, C. (2006) ‘Nothing about me, without me; Involving learners’ LSDA: London.
  • Nightingale, C. (2006) ‘Getting there and back again’ Guidelines for Learning Providers on: Travelling to Learning for Adults with Disabilities’. NIACE: Leicester.
  • Nightingale C. (2005) Learning for better health’ (unpublished confidential report to Leicester Health Action Zone), Leicester, NIACE.
  • James, K. and Nightingale, C. (2005) ‘Self-esteem, confidence and adult learning’, Leicester, Niace.
  • James, K and Nightingale, C. (2004) Discovering Potential. NIACE: Leicester.
  • Maudslay, L and Nightingale, C. (2004) Achievement in non-accredited learning for adults with learning difficulties. NIACE: Leicester.
  • Nightingale C. (2004) Transport to Learning: Issues, barriers and solutions to transport for adult learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, funded by LSC. www.niace.org.uk/research/HDE/Documents/transport-to-learning-Report.doc.
  • Nightingale C. (2003) ‘Women’s Self Development Programme in New Parks, Leicester’ (unpublished confidential report) funded by Leicester City Council Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
  • Nightingale C. (2001) ‘Can women with learning disabilities access good health care? A case study of cervical screening’ in Bosworth, G. and Poland, F. ‘Women’s minds Women’s bodies’. Palgrave Macmillan: London.
  • Nightingale, C. (2000) ‘Good Health?’ in Atkinson D et al (eds) Good times: bad times women with learning disabilities tell their stories’. BILD: Kidderminster.
  • Nightingale, C. (1998) The case of a girl born with cytomegalovirus in Clancy, J. and McVicar, AJ. (eds) Nursing Care: A Homeostatic Casebook, London, Arnold.
  • Nightingale, C. (1998) ‘The case of a baby boy born with mucopolysaccharidosis’ in  Clancy, J. and McVicar, AJ. (eds) Nursing Care: A Homeostatic Casebook, London, Arnold.
  • Nightingale, C. (1997) ‘Access to health care services for adults with learning disabilities, A cervical screening case study’. (unpublished PhD).
  • Nightingale, C and Sanger, J. (1993) ‘The sexual health education needs of adults with learning disabilities’. City College: Norwich.
  • Other, nursing and allied health professions, journal articles.


  • 2023 – Inclusive Leadership (Stream keynote presenter), Advance HE Annual Conference,  Hull,
  • 2022 –People with learning disabilities die 20 years younger than others in the population. What can we do?  (Stream keynote presenter), Norwich, Integrated Care System Conference.
  • 2016 – Research and REF (Keynote speaker) on Preparing for future REF. Vitae, Manchester
  • 2015 –Risk management in Higher Education. (Keynote presenter),  Universities UK Equality Conference, London.
  • 2014 –Supporting the development of equality and diversity skills, values and knowledge in academic staff. (Strand Lead and keynote presenter) Equality Diversity and Inclusion Conference. Munich.
  • 2014 –International Women’s Day 2014 Public Lecture (Keynote presenter) DMU Leicester.
  • 2013 – Panellist DMU Parliament Week Public Debate.
  • 2013 –International Women’s Day, public lecture 2013 (Keynote presenter) DMU Leicester.
  • 2012 - The business case for equality. (Keynote presenter) International Equality Diversity and Inclusion Conference Toulouse France

Chris has worked with private sector companies including a national league football club, the finance sector, food industry, airline and travel industries, in delivering mental health training.  She has also worked as a consultant for organisations wishing to achieve equality and inclusion charter marks.

Chris is particularly interested in supporting health and social care organisations in increasing the knowledge and skills of their staff in working with people with learning disabilities and with organisations who would like to improve the accessibility and inclusiveness of their services.

Chris has most recently led on two international seminars in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). These were in response to concerns for the plight of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, in Ukraine.  One of the seminars focussed on how to support people with learning disabilities with the experience of trauma.

Chris has presented at 3 international conferences on Equality and Diversity: in New Zealand, France and Germany.

In 1992, during the time of the civil war, Chris travelled to the former Yugoslavia to assess the needs of a large institution caring for people with learning disabilities.


  • Nursing and Midwifery Council – Registered Learning Disability Nurse
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts