Professor Heather Waterman BSc (Hons), PhD

Professor Heather Waterman

BSc (Hons), PhD

Professor of Nursing and Ophthalmology

School of Healthcare Sciences

+44 (0)29 206 88560
12.15, 12th Floor, Eastgate House, 35-43 Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 0AB

In addition to my responsibility for the strategic direction and leadership of the School, my passion to conduct research and to supervise students continues.

The majority of my academic research is focused on the field of ophthalmology.  I have led the development of a programme of research into the effects of patient education on adherence to glaucoma eye drops.

Besides my clinical research interests I also have an international methodological reputation in action research.  Action research is a qualitative methodology where stakeholders critically reflect, research and take action aimed at improving patient care or clinical services. I sit on the International Editorial Boards for Educational Action Research.

I qualified as a nurse from Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1983, and received my degree in Nursing from Kings College, London in 1989.

Then I was awarded a Department of Health PhD studentship at the University of Manchester where I gained my PhD in 1994.  Thereafter I was employed as Lecturer and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1998 meanwhile between 1995 and 2004, I was appointed as Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine.

In 2002, I was promoted to Professor of Nursing and Ophthalmology.  I have supervised 18 students to PhD/MPhil completion.

Professional memberships

  • United Kingdom and Eire Glaucoma Society (UKEGS)
  • European Society for Patient Adherence, Compliance and Persistence (ESPACOMP)
  • Fellow, European Academy of Nursing Science
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Ophthalmic Nursing Forum
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Nurse Practitioner Forum
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Research Society

Academic positions

  • 2002-2015 Professor of Nursing and Ophthalmology, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work (University of Manchester)
  • 1995-2004 Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Ophthalmology, Medical School (University of Manchester)
  • 1998-2002 Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (University of Manchester)

Speaking engagements

  • A silver jubilee: How the passage of twenty five years has led to a personal re-evaluation of participation in healthcare action research.  Collaborative Action Research Conference, Braga, Portugal, November 2015.
  • Patient education and experiences of glaucoma.  United Kingdom and Eire Glaucoma Society Conference, Leicester, November, 2015
  • Group based education for patients with glaucoma can help to deliver the NICE guidance on delivering information to patients with glaucoma. Nordic Ophthalmological Congress, Nurses Conference, Malmö, Sweden, May, 2015.
  • Adapting a home safety programme and an exercise programme to prevent falls in a feasibility study. Royal National Institute for the Blind, London, 21 October 2013


















My research interests are focused primarily on the promotion of self-care of patients with long term conditions, especially those concerning loss of sight. Self-care includes how patients understand their condition and treatment, and how they translate this into healthy behaviour.  This programme of research includes the study of interventions to promote self-care.  Self-care is important because it can directly impact upon patient outcomes.   Specialising in the field of ophthalmology, our most recent programme of research has concentrated on the effects of patient education on adherence to glaucoma eye drops.

Recent grants include an IGA / NHS Fife funded study into the perspectives of patients and carers on having a diagnosis of dementia and glaucoma. We will use qualitative research to understand how people who have dementia cope with glaucoma including how they manage their eye drop regimes, with the ultimate aim of improving the services we provide to them.

Besides clinical research interests I personally have an international methodological reputation in action research, a qualitative methodology where stakeholders critically reflect, research and take action aimed at improving patient care or clinical services.    I led the HTA systematic review on action research: Waterman H, Tillen D, Dickson R, Koning de K. (2001) Action research: a systematic review and assessment for guidance. Health Technology Assessment 5 (23) which has had global impact.

Grant Funding

FunderTitleGrantStart / End Dates
IGA/ RCNPatients’ and carers’ perspectives of managing glaucoma when living with dementia: a grounded theory study£24,9722016-2017
International Glaucoma AssociationVirtual clinics for glaucoma care in the UK: national survey and patients’ and clinicians’ experiences and perceptions: a qualitative evaluation£48,9952015-2017
NIHR PHRAdapting a falls prevention exercise programme with and for older people with visual impairment: a  feasibility study£457, 9272014-2016
College of OptometryEnhanced Scheme within Primary Care Ophthalmic Services Evaluation Project£294,2872012-2015
NIHR RfPBThe effectiveness of portable electronic vision enhancement systems (EVES) in comparison to optical magnifiers for  near vision activities in visual impairment – the p-EVES Study£250,0002012-2014
IGA-RCN & PfizerTraining nurses to deliver group based education to patients with glaucoma£15, 000 + £19,1832012-2013
NIHR RfPBPromoting adherence to interventions to prevent falls in people with visual impairment ≥75 years old£238,3222011-2013
CMFT RfPB FundWhat are patient’s post-operative experiences and quality of life issues following orbital exenteration surgery?£20,0002009-2010
Burdett Trust for NursingGroup based education for patients on treatment for glaucoma£100,6012009-2011
NIHR RfPB A randomised controlled trial of the ‘Hyperemesis Impact of Symptoms Score’ for individualised assessment and management of symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum£267,5062008-2011
NIHRGreater Manchester CLARHC Implementation ProgrammeApprox £10 million2008-2013
Burdett TrustHyperemesis gravidarum: action research project£34,0002006-2007

Current Supervision of Research Students

  • 2014 Jennifer Voorhees, FT, PhD, Optimising Population Access to General Practice through Community-Based Participatory Research
  • 2014 Jennifer Solomon, FT, PhD, Utilizing action research to develop a sustainable and effective continuous profession development program for Grenadian nurses
  • 2014 John Okomoh, PT, PhD Optimising the delivery of care to patients living with dementia in Nigeria
  • 2013 Jason Hickey, PT, PhD, What are the perspectives of those who suffer from mental illness in Qatar?
  • 2013 Jittanun Srisuwan, FT, PhD, The relationship among stigma, discrimination and bonding in HIV-infected mothers and their infants in Thailand: a mixed method study
  • 2009 Christa Muller-Froelich, FT, PhD: Transforming the Culture and Practices of Nurses and Physicians during Educational Change : an action research project