She holds a BSc Social Science & Nursing degree from Edinburgh University, a Master in Nursing from Glasgow University, and PGCE from Strathclyde University. Kay’s PhD was awarded by Glasgow Caledonian University and used grounded theory methods to investigate graduate specialist practitioner involvement in clinical practice development, resulting in a theoretical model of ‘becoming an expert’.
Kay has a clinical background in cardiology having worked as a ward sister in coronary care for six years before leaving for a post in higher education. She has a special interest in improving healthcare quality, specifically person-centered care. Her current research and teaching focus is on understanding and responding to patient experience, particularly in the areas of self-management in chronic heart failure and healthcare associated infection. She is a member of the SHAIPI Healthcare Associated Infection Research consortium, where she specializes in the application of qualitative research methods. She is currently supervising doctoral students on a range of projects related to healthcare quality improvement or using grounded theory methods.
Kay is a member of the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Patient Experience Steering Group, the Scottish Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Forum, and the British Society for Heart Failure. She is a regular reviewer for Nurse Education Today; Journal of Clinical Nursing; BMJ Quality & Safety; European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.