Dr Robin Ray

Dr Robin Ray

Senior Lecturer, College of Medicine & Dentistry

B Ed (CQU), M HSc (CQU), PhD (La Trobe), RN, MRCN


Building 39, Room 213


(07) 4781 4474


(07) 4781 3183



Current academic roles

  • Supervision for Honours and PhD students
  • Co-ordinate and teach postgraduate research subjects
  • Co-ordinator and teach MED3 subject: Global Health
  • Teach a range of topics across MED 1 and 3 including, health behavioural change and motivational interviewing, professionalism, communication, ethics, dying and death.
  • Community health workshops on advanced care planning and motor neurone disease
  • Guest lecturer in Palliative Care for Allied Health
  • Chair Student Selection Advisory Committee, School of Medicine and Dentistry


  • Supervised honours and masters students to completion.

  • Undertaken a range of teaching roles and curriculum development at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at three Universities in Medicine, Allied Health,  Nursing, Health Promotion and Occupational Health

  • Provided community based support and education for people living with motor neurone disease

  • Provided short term teaching, consultation and support in Hong Kong and Bhutan

  • Conducted health promotion with National Heart Foundation across Central Queensland

  • Provided occupational health services for telecommunication workers in rural Victoria

  • Worked as a nurse/midwife in rural and regional areas in Victoria and Queensland

Research Interests

My research has two foci, selection and retention of rural workforce; and community palliative care with a particular focus on people living with motor neurone disease (MND), end of life and advance care planning, and social support in life-limiting illness.  I use both qualitative methods and mixed methods approaches to investigate:

  • ways to promote quality of life, enhance social support and enable people to die well.  I am also interested in improving access to services and appropriate care.

  • the connections between selection criteria, undergraduate medical training and rural intention.

My PhD research used ecomapping as a data gathering tool to capture the dynamic changes in support networks available to caregivers, challenging the government’s notion that support is readily available given the healthy nature of social capital in Australia. My work with caregivers of individuals living with MND has redefined emotional labour as it pertains to caregivers and developed the concept of socio-connective trust to describe the reflexive, shifting relationships between caregivers and the individual being cared for, caregivers and expert systems, and caregivers and social networks.  My research is well received at local, interstate and international conferences.

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

Ray, R. A., & Kavanagh, A. (2014). Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease. In E. Chang & A. Johnson (Eds.), Chronic illness and disability (second ed., pp. 329-350). Sydney: Elsevier.

Ray, R. A., & McAnally, L. (2008). Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease. In E. Chang & A. Johnson (Eds.), Chronic illness and disability (pp.251-268) Sydney: Elsevier.

Peer reviewed journal articles

Ireland, S., Ray, R. A., Larkins, S., & Woodward, L. (2015). Factors influencing the care provided for periviable babies in Australia: a narrative review. Reproductive Health, 12, 108 (on-line). doi: 10.1186/s12978-015-0094-8

Ray, R. A., Woolley, T., & Sen Gupta, T. (2015). James Cook University’s rurally oriented medical school selection process: quality graduates and positive workforce outcomes. Rural and Remote Health Journal, 15(3424), (on line).  Retrieved from http://www.rrh.org.au

Ray, R. A., Young, L., & Lindsay, D. B. (2015). The influences of background on beginning medical students’ perceptions of rural medical practice. BMC Medical Education, 15, 58. doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0339-9

Cameron, M., Ray, R. A., & Sabesan, S. (2015). Remote supervision of medical training via videoconference in northern Australia: a qualitative study of the perspectives of supervisors and trainees. BMJ Open, 5(e006444). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006444

Cameron, M., Ray, R. A., & Sabesan, S. (2014). Physicians’ perceptions of clinical supervision and educational support via videoconference: a systematic review. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 20(5), 272–281.

Ray, R. A., Fried, O., & Lindsay, D. B. (2014). Palliative care professional education via video conference builds confidence to deliver palliative care in rural and remote locations. BMC Health Services Research, 14, 272.

Ray, R. A., Brown, J., & Street, A. F. (2012). Dying with motor neurone disease, what can we learn from family caregivers? Health Expectations, 17, 466–476. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-7625.2012.00773.x

Ray, R. A., & Street, A. F. (2011). The dynamics of socio-connective trust within support networks accessed by informal caregivers. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 15(2), 137-152.

Ray, R. A. (2009). Mapping relationships: a companion website to L. Richards (Ed.), Handling Qualitative Data (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications available at http://www.uk.sagepub.com/richards/.

Ray, R. A., & Street, A. F. (2007). Nonfinite loss and emotional labour: family caregivers' experiences of living with motor neurone disease. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 16(3a), 35-43.

Ray, R. A., & Street, A. F. (2006). Caregiver bodywork: family member's experiences of caring for someone living with motor neurone disease (MND). Journal of Advanced Nursing, 56(1), 35-43.

Ray, R. A. (2006). "It's all down hill from here," or is it? Living with loss and grief associated with motor neurone disease. Grief matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement, 9(1), 8-11.

Ray, R. A., & Street, A. F. (2005). Engaging social support systems to improve quality of life for patients and carers. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and other motor neuron diseases, 6(Supp 1), 37-38.

Recent Conference Publications

2015    Australasian Student Selection for Health Professions conference – Melbourne, Do rural admission policies impact on the quality of rural doctors?

2014    Selection Conference – Southport, Is the assessment of communication skills as part of the medical student selection process discriminating against rural origin applicants?

2013   AMEE (International Association for Medical Education) – Prague, Are we selecting medical students who will provide socially accountable health care?

Palliative Care Australia conference – Canberra, Videoconference education builds confidence in providing palliative care outside tertiary centres.

Rural Medical Association conference – Cairns, Teaching tips for busy rural clinicians.

MED/DENT conference – Adelaide, Selecting students for social accountable outcomes.

2011   International Allied Professionals ALS/MND Forum – Sydney, Using a circular model to build emotional readiness for conversations about advance care planning (ACP) in MND International Society of Advanced Care Planning and End of Life Care Conference – London, Hear the right story and finish up in country: learning lessons from Aboriginal Australians implementing advance care planning

Palliative Care Australia Conference – Cairns, Building community capacity in palliative care – a north Queensland initiative.

2009   International Symposium on ALS/MND – Berlin, Germany Managing death in ALS/MND: identifying caregivers’ perspectives of the final days of life

2007   MND Australia Conference - Perth. Ambiguous loss and emotional labour: meeting family caregiver’s needs

Clinical Education Conference –Melbourne. Living the connections between foundational learning and acute care practice: ongoing journey for clinical educators and students

2006   International Symposium on ALS/MND – Yokohama, Japan The impact of ambiguous loss and emotional labour on family caregivers

International Allied Professionals ALS/MND Forum Yokohama Managing the degeneration of my loved one’s body: Family caregiver’s experiences of bodywork in ALS/MND


Full list of publications available at JCU Research Online