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Dr Rajvinder Samra

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Professional biography

I am a senior lecturer in Health in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at The Open University. 

I am a Chartered Psychologist and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My research interests focus on mental and psychological performance in work. I look into the factors (psychological, social, institutional, structural) that enhance or disrupt professional/work performance. I have researched how we learn, train, improve and cope with work, and with academic study. I have also investigated identifying and responding to errors and failure in work.

My educational background is in Psychology (BSc, University of Manchester, 2008, First Class), Occupational Psychology (MSc with Distinction, University of Nottingham, 2009) and Applied Psychology (PhD, University of Nottingham, 2013, no corrections). My PhD explored doctors' and medical students' attitudes toward older patients and their care in healthcare settings. I also have an interest in healthcare professionals' attitudes and expectations in the workplace and how this influences work performance, care quality, safety and error. I am also interested in notions of professionalism in healthcare, including expectations of providing empathy in care and the link with professional burnout. This work has included the effect of chronic work stress and burnout in relation to medical and legal professionals. My previous role in the School of Medicine at Imperial College London involved human factors in primary care patient safety in North-West London. I am currently working on a project with the UK charity, LawCare, to develop online resources for developing psychologically healthy practices within the legal profession. I am also currently researching how individuals can self-identify the edges of their optimal/safe performance before experiencing burnout or substantially increased risk of human error.

I am registered with the British Psychological Society as a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol). I am trained in ability and personality testing in the workplace and am a registered test-user for BPS Occupational Ability and Occupational Personality psychometric tests (NEO-Revised Personality Inventory).

If you are a student who is interested in doing a PhD, please don't hesitate to contact me via email at with an email letting me know about what area interests you. My areas of expertise are detailed below and I have an interest in coping with stress, burnout and mental distress in work, study and general life. 

Research interests

Stress, burnout and coping with mental distress: in work, study and in general life.

Lived experience of mental illness: Critiques and developments.

Safety, quality and performance at work: monitoring patient safety in primary care medicine; identifying and prioritising safety and quality concerns in healthcare settings.

Psychological and cognitive work performance: occupational stress and burnout; human error, failure and recovery; personal resilience at work in medicine and law.

Professionals' education and training: Teaching empathy to healthcare professionals; gender in the medical workplace; experiential non-clinical skills training in medicine; teaching empathy in medicine and law.

Attitudes research (qualitative and quantitative): the unidimensional or tripartite model of attitudes; stereotype/content model; attitudinal questionnaire measures.

Review methodology: Conducting and writing reviews; synthesising healthcare services research literature.

Teaching interests

I am currently working on our new mental health modules for Level 2 and Level 3.

Impact and engagement

Article on burnout for The Conversation was the most-read article of Open University contributors to The Conversation UK in 2018-19. The article reached over 110,000 readers as far as Singapore, the US, Canada, India and Malaysia (‘Millennial burnout: building resilience is no answer – we need to overhaul how we work’ 21 January, 2019).

Article on recovery from burnout for The Conversation reached over 160,000 readers (‘How to recover from burnout and chronic work stress, according to a psychologist’ 11 March 2020). Republished in The Independent. Translated for French readers and accessed by an additional 70,000 people.

Academic consultant for BBC series Hospital (Series 1), which was nominated in the Best Documentary Series category for a Grierson Award 2017 and won the Royal Television Society award for Best Documentary Series 2018.

Invited keynote speaker at the National GP Appraiser’s Conference 2019 Health Education and Improvement Wales, (‘Addressing stress and burnout in healthcare settings’, 21 June 2019); HEIW Together towards Tomorrow Conference (March 2022); Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch Compassion conference (July 2022).

Featured on theGuardian.comNature.comBloomberg Businessweek, Livestrong.comSydney Morning Herald, Hindustan Times,  Thrive Global. Featured guest on 'The State of Things' WUNC-FM North Carolina Public Radio. Featured guest on BBC Asian Network Radio. 

Article for The Conversation (‘Female doctors show more empathy, but at a cost to their mental well-being’ 24 April, 2018).

External collaborations

2021-2022         Co-Investigator on Public Health Intervention Development Project grant: 'Building resilience: Co-designing an online rainbow wellbeing toolkit for public health systems to promote wellbeing and resilience in LGBTQ+ youth' (£185k)

2020-2022         Co-investigator on Dunhill Medical Trust Research Project grant: ‘Uncertainty in healthcare: a qualitative study of patients' and clinicians' experiences and co-design of professional development and patient information materials' led by University of Leicester (£135k).

2019-2020         Wellbeing in the Law work stream led by Dr Emma Jones (University of Sheffield) and in conjunction with LawCare. We have produced a book on Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Legal Profession.

I maintain an international collaboration with academics in Brazil at the Laboratory of Human Development and Cognition, Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), São Paulo.

Externally funded projects

Building resilience: Co-designing an online rainbow wellbeing toolkit for public health systems to promote wellbeing and resilience in LGBTQ+ youth (i.e. The Pride Project)
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Sep 202131 Dec 2023MRC Medical Research Council

Promoting resilience and wellbeing through co-design (PRIDE): The Pride Rainbow Toolkit Project has three main objectives: 1) To co-design a media rich “online rainbow wellbeing” toolkit with LGBTQ+ adolescents, and experts in psycho-social coping strategies as well as public health leaders (e.g. commissioners of services, experts on bullying prevention, therapists and police, teachers and youth workers); 2) To explore how the online toolkit can be used within UK public health systems by LGBTQ+ youth themselves, and by community organisations and professionals who would benefit from use of the online toolkit (e.g. as continuing professional development/CPD); and, 3) To plan the delivery of the intervention and determine the design and measures for a future effectiveness study as well as further implementation of the toolkit. Project website:


A Web-Based Intervention to Support the Mental Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Minority Young People: Mixed Methods Co-Design of Oneself. (2024-05-21)
Brown, Katherine; Lucassen, Mathijs F G; Núñez-García, Alicia; Rimes, Katharine A; Wallace, Louise M and Samra, Rajvinder
JMIR formative research, 8, Article e54586

The Relationship Between Mental health, Metacognition, and Emotion Regulation in Older People (2024)
França, Alex Bacadini; Samra, Rajvinder; Vitorino, Luciano Magalhães and Schelini, Patrícia
Clinical Gerontologist, 47(2) (pp. 298-306)

An online intervention to support the mental wellbeing of sexual and gender minority young people in England: Co-design of ‘Oneself' (2024)
Brown, Katherine E.; Lucassen, Mathijs F. G.; Núñez-García, Alicia; Rimes, Katharine A.; Wallace, Louise M. and Samra, Rajvinder
JMIR formative research ((in press))

A network approach to understanding distance learners' experience of stress and mental distress whilst studying (2023)
Samra, Rajvinder; França, Alex Bacadini; Lucassen, Mathijs F G and Waterhouse, Philippa
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 20, Article 27(1)

Beyond epistemic injustice: When perceived realities conflict (2023)
Samra, Rajvinder
Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 31(5) (pp. 223-225)

Promoting Resilience and Well-being Through Co-Design (The PRIDE Project): Protocol for the Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Prototype Resilience-Based Intervention for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth (2022-02-01)
Lucassen, Mathijs; Samra, Rajvinder; Rimes, Katharine; Brown, Katherine and Wallace, Louise
JMIR Research Protocols, 11, Article e31036(2)

Distance education students' satisfaction: Do work and family roles matter? (2022)
Waterhouse, Philippa; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
Distance Education, 43(1) (pp. 56-77)

Coping Strategies to Enhance the Mental Wellbeing of Sexual and Gender Minority Youths: A Scoping Review (2022)
Lucassen, Mathijs F. G.; Núñez-García, Alicia; Rimes, Katharine A.; Wallace, Louise M.; Brown, Katherine E. and Samra, Rajvinder
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, Article e8738(14)

Challenges in disclosing and receiving a diagnosis of dementia: A systematic review of practice from the perspectives of people with dementia, carers, and healthcare professionals (2021-11)
Yates, Jennifer; Stanyon, Miriam; Samra, Rajvinder and Clare, Linda
International Psychogeriatrics, 33(11) (pp. 1161-1192)

Adopting an intersectionality framework to address power and equity in medicine (2021-03-06)
Samra, Rajvinder and Hankivsky, Olena
The Lancet, 397(10277) (pp. 857-859)

Combining and managing work-family-study roles and perceptions of institutional support (2021)
Samra, Rajvinder; Waterhouse, Philippa and Lucassen, Mathijs
Distance Education, 42(1) (pp. 88-105)

Key challenges and opportunities around wellbeing for distance learning students: the online law school experience (2021)
Jones, Emma; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 38(2) (pp. 117-135)

Symptoms of mood disorders in family carers of older people with dementia who experience caregiver burden: a network approach (2020-07)
França, Alex Bacadini; Gordon, Adam Lee; Samra, Rajvinder; Duarte, Evelise Saia Rodolpho and Jacinto, Alessandro Ferrari
Age and Ageing, 49(4) (pp. 628-633)

The edges of human performance in psychiatry (2020-06)
Samra, Rajvinder
The British Journal of Psychiatry, 216(6) (pp. 294-295)

Comparing knowledge and attitudes to dementia care in Brazilian and UK GPs to guide future decisions about educational interventions (2020)
Jacinto, Alessandro Ferrari; Gordon, Adam Lee; Samra, Rajvinder; Steiner, Ana Beatriz; Mayoral, Vania Ferreira de Sá and Citero, Vanessa de Albuquerque
Gerontology and Geriatrics Education, 41(2) (pp. 250-257)

Mental distress and its relationship to distance education students’ work and family roles (2020)
Waterhouse, Philippa; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
Distance Education, 41(4) (pp. 540-558)

Fostering empathy in clinical teaching and learning environments: A unified approach (2019-10-29)
Samra, Rajvinder and Jones, Emma
Australian Journal of Clinical Education, 6(1)

Gender-responsive education and training approaches to improving physician well-being (2019-03)
Samra, Rajvinder
Medical Education, 53(3) (pp. 210-218)

The world at their fingertips? The mental wellbeing of online distance-based law students (2019)
Jones, Emma; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
The Law Teacher, 53(1) (pp. 49-69)

Brief history of burnout (2018-12-27)
Samra, Rajvinder
BMJ, 363, Article k5268

How LGBT+ Young People Use the Internet in Relation to Their Mental Health and Envisage the Use of e-Therapy: Exploratory Study (2018-12-21)
Lucassen, Mathijs; Samra, Rajvinder; Iacovides, Ioanna; Fleming, Theresa; Shepherd, Matthew; Stasiak, Karolina and Wallace, Louise
JMIR Serious Games, 6, Article e11249(4)

Empathy and Burnout in medicine – acknowledging risks and opportunities (2018-07)
Samra, Rajvinder
Journal of General Internal Medicine, 33(7) (pp. 991-993)

Factors related to medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients: A systematic review (2017-11-01)
Samra, Rajvinder; Cox, Tom; Gordon, Adam L; Conroy, Simon; Lucassen, Mathijs and Griffiths, Amanda
Age and Ageing, 46(6) (pp. 911-919)

Sexual minority youth and depressive symptoms or depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based studies (2017-08-01)
Lucassen, Mathijs F.G.; Stasiak, Karolina; Samra, Rajvinder; Frampton, Christopher M.A. and Merry, Sally N.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 51(8) (pp. 774-787)

Identification of priorities for improvement of medication safety in primary care: a PRIORITIZE study (2016-11-16)
Tudor Car, Lorainne; Papachristou, Nikolaos; Gallagher, Joseph; Samra, Rajvinder; Wazny, Kerri; El-Khatib, Mona; Bull, Adrian; Majeed, Azeem; Aylin, Paul; Atun, Rifat; Rudan, Igor; Car, Josip; Bell, Helen; Vincent, Charles and Dean Franklin, Bryony
BMC Family Practice, 17(160)

How to monitor patient safety in primary care? Healthcare professionals’ views (2016-08-01)
Samra, Rajvinder; Car, Josip; Majeed, Azeem; Vincent, Charles and Aylin, Paul
JRSM Open, 7(8) (pp. 1-8)

Medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients and their care in hospital settings: a conceptualisation (2015-09-15)
Samra, Rajvinder; Griffiths, Amanda; Cox, Tom; Conroy, Simon; Gordon, Adam and Gladman, John R. F.
Age and Ageing, 44(5) (pp. 776-783)

Monitoring patient safety in primary care: an exploratory study using in-depth semistructured interviews (2015-09-10)
Samra, Rajvinder; Bottle, Alex and Aylin, Paul
BMJ Open, 5, Article e008128(9)

Equipping tomorrow's doctors for the patients of today (2014-07)
Oakley, Rachel; Pattinson, Joanne; Goldberg, Sarah; Daunt, Laura; Samra, Rajvinder; Masud, Tahi; Gladman, John R. F.; Blundell, Adrian G. and Gordon, Adam L.
Age and Ageing, 43(4) (pp. 442-447)

Changes in medical student and doctor attitudes toward older adults after an intervention: a systematic review (2013-07)
Samra, Rajvinder; Griffiths, Amanda; Cox, Tom; Conroy, Simon and Knight, Alec
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61(7) (pp. 1188-1196)

Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Legal Profession (2020-09-24)
Jones, Emma; Graffin, Neil; Samra, Rajvinder and Lucassen, Mathijs
Bristol Shorts Research
ISBN : 9781529210743 | Publisher : Bristol University Press | Published : Bristol

'A Support Net': Evaluating a novel mental health-related online educational tool (2019-02-13)
Lucassen, Mathijs F.G.; Samra, Rajvinder; Axtell-Powell, Georgia and Cooke, Georgina
In : International Society for Research on Internet Interventions - ISRII: The Next Generation (13-15 Feb 2019, Auckland, New Zealand)

What Factors Are Related to Medical Students’ and Doctors’ Attitudes Towards Older Patients? (2017-06-30)
Samra, Rajvinder; Cox, Tom; Gordon, Adam; Conroy, Simon; Lucassen, Mathijs and Griffiths, Amanda
In : 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics (23-27 Jul 2017, San Francisco, California)

Monitoring patient safety in North-West London primary care (2015-07-01)
Samra, Rajvinder; Bottle, Alex and Aylin, Paul
In : Health Services Research Network (HSRN) Symposium (1-2 Jul 2015, Nottingham)

Prioritize: asking healthcare professionals about patient safety priorities in primary care (2014-10-07)
Samra, Rajvinder; Tudor Car, Lorraine; Aylin, Paul and Majeed, Azeem
In : International Society for Quality in Healthcare 31st International Conference: Quality and Safety Along the Health and Social Care Continuum (5-8 Oct 2014, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)