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Personal profile

Research Interests

  • Caregiving relationships
  • Nurse-patient relationship
  • Fundamental care
  • Men's health and help-seeking

Broadly, Rebecca is interested in how healthcare is achieved in and through the relationships that occur between care providers and care recipients. She is interested in the ways in which people use and engage with healthcare services, including how these services are delivered by professionals and how they should be delivered to best meet people's needs. Rebecca is particularly interested in examining the provision of healthcare in situ (in real-time, in real-life), as well as understanding the perspectives of people who give and receive care. She has examined the provision of healthcare in a range of contexts, including relationship-counselling helplines, health helplines, acute care and community services. 

Research Biography

Dr Feo is a Senior Research Fellow of the Flinders University College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Adelaide in 2012. She has worked previously as an Evaluation Officer at Relationships Australia South Australia (2012-2015) and as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide (2015-2018).

Since beginning work in academia in 2015, Rebecca has achieved national and international recognition for her research on the role of caregiving relationships in ensuring high-quality care delivery. Specifically, Rebecca leads original research on how healthcare, in peer, professional, and family settings, is achieved through care provider-recipient relationships. Her research expertise impacts two key areas:

  1. fundamental care (the care required by everyone regardless of clinical condition or care setting), and
  2. men's relational health and help-seeking.

From 2015-2021, Rebecca was the Executive Officer of the International Learning Collaborative (ILC), a member-based organisation dedicated to elevating the standard of fundamental care globally. Her work continues to involve collaborations with ILC members from around the globe.

Research Expertise

Fundamental care. Rebecca designed and now leads a program of work on how fundamental care delivery can be enhanced through nurse-patient relationships. This work focuses on how to conceptualise and measure the complexity of nurse-patient relationships. Rebecca’s work has identified and will reconcile a dissonance in the literature between the perceived importance of the relationship and the rigour with which it is articulated and evaluated.

Men's relational health and help-seeking. Building on her doctoral research examining men's help-seeking behaviours on a relationship counselling helpline, Rebecca has developed and leads a program of work exploring how best to support men who are experiencing relationship difficulties. This work aligns with the National Men's Health Strategy 2020-2030 and its goal to support men experiencing relationship stressors.

Methodological expertise: Rebecca has extensive experience and expertise in qualitative research approaches, including Conversation Analysis, Discourse Analysis and Thematic Analysis; and scoping reviews.


Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Adelaide

Award Date: 31 Jul 2012

Bachelor (Honours), University of Adelaide

Award Date: 31 Dec 2007

External positions

Visiting Research Fellow, University of Adelaide



  • RT Nursing
  • BF Psychology


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