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Dr Tessa Watts

Dr Tessa Watts

Reader: Adult Nursing

+44(0)29 225 10963
13.14, Eastgate House, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a researcher, qualified teacher and registered nurse (adult field) with a clinical background in palliative and end of life care in advanced cancer and a Reader in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University. I am the Deputy research theme lead for Optimising wellbeing and the management of long-term conditions.

In my research I work with multiprofessional researchers, healthcare professionals and members of the public, nationally and internationally. Currently I am leading the investigation of people's experiences of being treated with cancer immunotherapy and healthcare professionals education and training needs in relation to these exciting treatments. I am also leading a study investigating the impact of COVID-19 on Nurses in Wales in collaboration with Public Health Wales and Health for Health Professionals Wales and the Welsh arm of a UK wide study investigating factors that help promote resilience and support the clinical education of nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic which is funded by the ESRC.

I am an Honorary Professor at Swansea University and Editor for the international peer reviewed journal, Nurse Education in Practice.


I have an academic grounding in the social and political sciences and nursing and am an active qualitative researcher, publishing, making conference presentations with a focus on chronic illness/conditions, most particularly advanced cancer, workforce wellbeing, particularly moral distress, and examining at doctoral level. I review grant applications for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Scheme, Research Capacity Building Collaboration Wales (RCBC Wales) and Tenovus. I am a member of the Scientific Review Panel for the International Nursing Education Conference (NET/NEP) and International Conference of Cancer Nursing (ICCN). I regularly review for several journals as detailed on my publons account and am editor for the international peer review journal Nurse Education in Practice.

August 2021- current: Reader Cardiff University School of Healthcare Sciences

December 2019 - ongoing: Honorary Professor Swansea University

September 2018 - August 2021: Senior Lecturer Cardiff University, School of Healthcare Sciences.

2003- 2018 - Associate Professor, College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University

In this post I also held Institutional and College senior stategic education leadership roles including: Deputy Chair, Swansea University Programme Approval Committee; College Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies); College Strategic Lead Recruitment and Admissions (2009-2015), College Strategic Lead Widening participation and inclusion (2008-2105); Programme Director Professional Doctorate (2016-2018); Programme Director MSc Long Term and Chronic Conditions Managment (2009-2018); Programme Director BSc Cancer Care (2009-2014); Acting Head of Nursing and Midwifery (2004 -2006); BN Programme Director (all fields) (2003-2009). I represented Swansea University on the All Wales Fitness for Practice Nursing Education Steering Comittee between 2004 and 2009.

1996-2003 - Senior Lecturer, Swansea University.

Lecturer in Nursing Theory; initiated, developed and led the first BSc in Palliative Nursing (with spq) in Wales and Swansea’s first BSc Cancer Nursing and multiprofessional Cancer Care programmes. Module Leader Post registration Death Dying and Bereavement.

Honours and awards

Visiting international researcher University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Western Australia: 2020

Honorary Professor Swansea University 2019

Advance HE National Teaching Fellow Nominee 2018 (Swansea University)

International travel fellowship College of Human and Health Sciences, Department of Nursing, Swansea University 2017 – visited School of Nursing at Sydney University and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Faculty of Health/ Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care

Professional memberships

Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy

Registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council

Academic positions

2003-2018 Associate Professor, College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University

1996-2003 Senior Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Swansea University.

Speaking engagements

Invited speaker, Notre Dame University, Freemantle Campus, Perth, Western Australia (2020)

Invited speaker Macmillan Cancer Support Professionals' Conference, Manchester (2019)

Invited seminar presentation University Technology Sydney, Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care (2017).

Committees and reviewing

  • Editor Nurse Education in Practice (from 2021)
  • Associate Editor Nurse Education in Practice (from 2019)
  • Editorial Board, Nurse Education in Practice (from 2014)
  • Grant reviewer, Tenovus Cancer Care
  • Grant reviewer, Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC) Wales
  • Grant reviewer, Research for Public and Patient Benefit (England)















  • Watts, T. 2010. Chronic conditions management. In: Kell, C. and Helme, M. eds. Interprofessional Education in Wales: case studies in health and social care.. London: Higher Education Academy






I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was an Advance HE National Teaching Fellow Nominee in 2018 when I was still working at Swansea University. I have designed, developed, validated and led full and part time pre and post registration professional body-approved programmes in Palliative Nursing, Cancer Nursing, Undergraduate Pre-Registration Nursing (adult; mental health and child fields) and multi professional post graduate programmes: Long Term and Chronic Conditions Management and a Professional Doctorate. I now teach, supervise and examine at pre-registration undergraduate, taught postgraduate and doctoral levels.

My current, specific, module responsibilities are:

  • MSc Advanced Practice: Understanding Cancer: Patient and professional perspectives HCT 150
  • MSc Advanced Practice: Introduction to research methods HCT 206
  • MSc Advanced Practice: Research methods and data analysis in healthcare HCT 343
  • BSc Nursing: Evaluation of care: HC 3288
  • BSc Nursing: Dissertation Supervision
  • MSc Advanced Practice: Dissertation Supervision
  • Doctoral student supervision

I am also a personal tutor for undergraduate pre-registration nursing students (adult field)

I enjoy collaborating and working with multiprofessional researchers, healthcare professionals and member of the public in my research. I am an active member of the School's Optimising wellbeing and the management of long term conditions research theme and the Healthcare Cancer Research group.

Research projects

Current funded projects

Moral distress among nurses and supportive interventions: a mixed methods systematic review and narrative synthesis. Public Health Wales. Dr Tessa Watts (CI), Professor Christine Bundy, Dr Sally Anstey, Dr Anna Sydor, Ms Eunice Temeng, Ms Rachael Pattinson, Ms Rachael Hewitt, Ms Liz Gillen (all Cardiff University),  Dr Dean Whybrow (Swansea University),

The mental health impacts on RN's of caring throughout COVID-19 and the perceived acceptablility of the Health for Health Professionals Wales (HHPW) intervention for moral distress. Burdett Trust for Nursing. Dr Tessa Watts (CI), Professor Christine Bundy, Dr Sally Anstey, Dr Anna Sydor, Dr Bethan Jones (all Cardiff University), Dr Dean Whybrow (Swansea University), Dr Richard Kyle (Public Health Wales), Professor Jonathan Bisson (Cardiff University), Ms Naomi Marfell (Health for Health Professionals Wales), Dr Thomas Kitchen (Health for Health Professionals Wales).    Announcing £1.2 million of grants awarded under our COVID-19 Supporting Nursing Resilience programme – The Burdett Trust for Nursing (

Investigating how nurse education prior to and during Covid prepares nurses for the pandemic: an analysis of what works. ESRC/UKRI funded (Dr Mary Malone (CI) Oxford Brookes University, Professor Eila Watson, Oxford Brookes University, Professor Jane Appleton, Oxford Brookes University, Dr Cathy Henshall, Oxford Brookes University, Professor Danny Kelly, Cardiff University, Professor Dame Anne Marie Rafferty, Kings College London, Dr Lynn Sayer, Kings College London, Professor Caroline Bradbury Jones, Birmingham University, Professor Laura Serrant, Manchester Metropolitan University, Dr Michael Ramsey, University of Dundee, Professor Sonia McIlfatrick, University of Ulster.

Experiences of cancer immunotherapy with immune-checkpoint inhibitors. I am leading a multiprofessional team of academic researchers, clinicians and members of the public. (Dr Tessa Watts (CI), Stephen Jennings, Professor Deborah Fitzsimmons-Warm (Swansea University), Emeritus Professor Debbie Fenlon (Swansea University), Dr Sally Anstey (Cardiff University), Dr Alison Brewster (Hywel Dda University Health Board), Ms Janet Richards (Hywel Dda University Health Board), Mr John Buckman) (Service User Representative). Macmillan Cancer Support funded

The community and economic impact of multidimensional cancer rehabilitation interventions in supporting people to live well with and after their cancer: PhD studentship (Macmillan Cancer Support/College of Human and Health Sciences/ Cardiff University) (Dr Tessa Watts (CI))


I am committed to growing research capacity and capability within nursing and allied health professionals. I have knowledge and skills in qualitative research methods, particularly ethnography. I am interested in supervising PhD students who would like to explore dimensions of supportive care for people and families living with chronic illnesses, including cancers, and also workforce support in the context of health and social care, particularly the nursing workforce and nursing students using qualitative methodologies and drawing on the social sciences.

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Optimising wellbeing in cancer, particularly among people being treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors;
  • People's experiences of chronic illness
  • Optimising supportive care in chronic illness;
  • Cancer nursing, notably supportive care
  • Moral distress among the nursing workforce and interventions to mitigate and prevent moral distress   

I am an experienced postgraduate supervisor. I have supervised seven doctoral level students (PhD and Professional Doctorate) to timely completion and in excess of 20 postgraduate (MSc) students with their dissertations. I have examined externally at Sheffield Hallam University and University of South Wales and am external examiner for the Professional doctorate (Nursing and Midwifery) at Oxford Brookes University.

Current doctoral students also include:

Eunice Temeng (PhD)

Louise Silva (MD)

Laurie Smith (MD)

Harriet Coxon (MD)

Current supervision

Francesca Mada

Research student

Past projects

Previous PGR supervision

Awarded 2022 Experiences of Early Career Nurses Working in Specialist Adolescent/Young Adult Cancer Units: A Narrative Inquiry (Doctor of Advanced Healthcare Practice - Part Time Cardiff University)

Awarded 2021 Realist evaluation of cancer rehabilitation services in South Wales (PhD - Full Time Cardiff University)

Awarded 2021  Can 3D camera imaging provide information to assess and manage lymphoedema in clinical practice (Professional Doctorate - Part Time Swansea University)

Awarded 2020  Effects of rehabilitation on cardiac patients' health-related quality of life in Kuwait: role of exercise, cultural and social factors (PhD- Full Time International Swansea University)

Awarded 2020  An exploratory mixed-methods investigation of adult hearing aid users and the relationships of hearing aid use with anxiety, depression, lonliness and social inclusion.  (PhD – Part Time Swansea University)

Awarded 2018  The impact of the lymphoedema risk reducing recommendations on people treated for breast cancer and the implications for clinical practice. (Professional Doctorate – Part Time Swansea University)

Awarded 2015 The transition after active treatment:exploring the journeys for older people with cancer in South-West Wales (PhD- Full Time Swansea University)