Personal profile


My research interests are informed by working for several years as an NHS GP before obtaining a mid-career PhD in Sociology for research exploring doctors’ experiences of working in the UK NHS.  My research is mostly concerned with the changing composition of the primary care workforce and the impact of policies which alter what is expected of those working in general practice. I am interested in understanding what motivates doctors to choose GP careers and how they maintain engagement and commitment to deliver high quality care throughout their careers. 


After completion of GP training in 1987, I worked in Cheshire before moving to Staffordshire where for more than 19 years I was a part-time partner in a challenging urban practice and was involved in teaching from undergraduate level to completion of GP training. Moving to a salaried role allowed me to continue with clinical work.

Building on a fascination with background stories, my doctoral research focused on biographical narratives to explore doctors’ experiences of working in the NHS. These accounts revealed complex relationships between work settings, interactions between colleagues and each individual’s sense of medical identity. Poetic representation proved a potent form in which to share findings which indicated that key elements of contemporary medical professionalism had changed during their careers.

Research interests

During 2018-2020, I was PI for a research project funded by the NIHR HS&DR programme, investigating the implementation and impact of skill mix in primary care settings. I am a co-investigator in the Organising Care theme of the Greater Manchester Applied Research Collaboration and in a study of primary care health workers' retention funded by The Health Foundation. I am also involved in the ongoing series of GP Work Life Studies (funded through PRUComm) which have been undertaken regularly since 1998.

Recently completed work has includes a study of GP Federations and NIHR SPCR funded studies of the transitions made by doctors moving fom GP specialty training programmes into GP work and background factors affecting junior doctors' career choices. These projects explore different dimensions of current recruitment and capacity difficulties in general practice and aim to inform strategies which will improve delivery of primary care.

My wider research interests lie in understanding the working lives of medical professionals in the contexts of evolving health systems and shifting attitudes in society and within the profession. Data gathered through doctors' stories allows deep exploration of the perspectives and constructs behind current working practices and makes key contributions to identifying how better outcomes could be achieved.



I have been involved in the Personal and Professional Development programme for medical students during their first two years of study at MMS and I am a Problem Based Learning tutor. Clinically I have supervised medical students, Foundation doctors, and doctors training for general practice.   

I am also a supervisor for Masters students. 

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

British Sociological Association,  Medical Sociology Group Committee Member (2014 - 18)



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


Dive into the research topics where Sharon Spooner is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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