Skip to main content
Professor Daniel Kelly

Professor Daniel Kelly

Royal College of Nursing Chair of Nursing Research

School of Healthcare Sciences

13.04, Eastgate House, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB


Academic Interests

My academic background is in the social sciences, nursing and health care.

See recent book: Understanding Sociology in Nursing

My research interests have focused on the impact and experience of illness - primarily reflecting my clinical and managerial experience in cancer and palliative care - as well as the future potential of nursing and associated NHS workforce issues.

I am the fifth holder of the Royal College of Nursing Chair of Nursing Research at Cardiff University (Chair established in 1988).

I am currently involved in national and international research projects, and am experienced as a PhD Supervisor and Examiner, including international examining.

Between 2012-2016 I was Director of Research & Innovation followed by Deputy Head of School for Research.

From 2013-18 I also led the Optimising Service Delivery & Organisation Research theme- an active and succesful theme with several strands of funded research activity. I also review for several high impact journals and review for a range of funding bodies on a regular basis.

President of the European Oncology Nursing Society  2015-17, currently Past President, and an elected member of the Board of Directors of the European CanCer Organisation ECCO , Co-Chair ECCO HPV Action Network

Current H index: 30,  i10 index: 49 (since 2015). 


Career Profile

Graduate of the integrated Social Science and Nursing degree programme at Edinburgh University. On qualifying I gained clinical experience in intensive care, hospice and acute oncology settings; including specialist oncology training at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London in the 1980’s.

I then spent five years in two Charge Nurse roles. The first, at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, was in the Sexual Health service at the height of the HIV crisis in the late 1980s. I then returned to Oncology at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh to manage a chemotherapy unit that specialised in high dose/trial treatments, including the treatment of young adults. I completed the MSc (Advanced Practice, Cancer Nursing) at the University of Surrey during this time.

I then moved into education as a Lecturer in Cancer Nursing at the Royal Marsden Hospital/ Institute of Cancer Research and contributed to the development of innovative cancer and palliative care degree programmes for several years.

In 1998 I was appointed Senior Nurse (Research & Development) at University College Hospitals and completed a part-time PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2002. This was an ethnographic study of men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

For three years I was Senior Research Fellow working between UCL Hospitals and City University, London. I was then appointed Reader in Cancer Nursing at Middlesex University in 2005 with subsequent promotion to Professor of Nursing and Cancer Care.

I joined Cardiff University in 2011 as The Royal College of Nursing Chair of Nursing Research.

Awards and Appointments 

2019 Honorary Professor, UCL Division of Surgery & Interventional Science, Division of Targeted Intervention

2019 RCN Foundation Monica Baly Impact Award for oral history study of the earliest graduates of the first UK Nursing Degree programme at Edinburgh University 1960-70.

2018 Co-Chair of Scientific Committee for EONS11, Munich 

2018-21 Chair of Scientific Committee, International RCN Research Conference

2018-21 Member of the RCN International Committee

 2016 Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing 

2015 Chair of Nursing Track Scientific Committee, ECCO15, Vienna.

2013 Winston Churchill Fellowship at Sydney University.

2012 Keynote speaker RCN International Research Conference, London,

Since 2011 Visiting Professor in Nursing Studies, School of Health and Social Science, University of Edinburgh

2011 Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

2008 Jeremy Gambrill Award, Prostate Cancer Charity, for 'COUPLES: Facing Prostate Cancer Together.’

2007 Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science.

1998 Awarded King’s Fund Doctoral Studentship.

1995 Clinical Nursing Research Scholarship to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York and Sunnybrook Cancer Centre, Toronto.

1985 RCN Cancer Nursing Society Award.

1982 Edwina Mountbatten Scholarship, Edinburgh University allowed 2 months experience of nursing and community health projects in India.

Other External Activities.

2018- Appointed Trustee of St Christopher's Hospice, London 

Cardiff University Operational Lead for Research Capacity Building Collaborative in Wales

Member of the Scientific Committee for AYA Cancer Congress, Sydney, 2018

Scientific Committee member for 1st conference on Cancer & Palliative Care, Bethlehem University, Palestine, December 2018. 

Professional memberships

Professional Membership

Nursing & Midwifery Council:

  • Registered Nurse (Adult)
  • Specialist Practitioner (Community Nursing)
  • Registered Lecturer / Practice Educator

Royal College of Nursing

British Sociological Association


Academic positions

  • 2011 - Royal College of Nursing Chair of Nursing Research, Cardiff University
  • 2005-2011 Professor of Nursing & Cancer Care, Middlesex University
  • 2003-2005 Senior Research Fellow, City, London University
  • 1998-2003 UCL Hospitals, Senior Nurse Research & Development
  • 1991-97 Lecturer in Cancer Nursing, Insititue of Cancer Research & the Royal Mardsen Hospital

Speaking engagements

‘The transition to end of life care for adolescents with cancer: issues and challenges.’ Invited speaker at the 50th International Congress on Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), Lyon, France, October 2019

Multi-disciplinarity and the Development of the Professional Profile of Cancer Nursing.’ White Nights St Petersburg International Oncology Forum, St Petersburg, June 2019

‘A European view of cancer nursing’ Invited Plenary at Turning the Tide Conference 2019, University of Plymouth, June 2019

‘Recognising the role of cancer nursing: a European perspective'. Plenary at The International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care Congress, Auckland, New Zealand, September 26, 2018

The European Parliament, Brussels 'Trial-based interventions led by specialist cancer nurses', MEPs Against Cancer, May 16th 2018.  

Invited speaker, ‘The future role of Oncology Care in Europe’, Heidelberger Pflegekongress Onkologie, Heidelberg University, Germany, June 2017. 

UK Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress, 'Cancer nursing, professional challenges and European perspectives,' Harrogate, 2017.

Queens University Belfast ‘From description to theory in qualitative health research’, School of Nursing & Midwifery Studies, June 2017. 

5-day course on ‘Cancer as a chronic condition’, Bethlehem University, Palestine, January 2017 (With Matthew Fowler)

Invited speaker at Italian Oncology Congress on ‘Euthanasia and advanced directives in the UK.’ Rome, October 2016.

Annual European School of Oncology Masterclass faculty member since 2013 teaching on a range of subjects including cancer workforce challenges in Europe, research and adolescent cancer care. Switzerland & Germany.

Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand, Invited plenary paper, Nursing Workforce issues in haematology: some ideals and realities.' Adelaide, October 2015.

Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand, Invited Plenary paper, ‘Palliative care in haematology: still problematic?. Invited plenary at: Haematology Association of Australia and New Zealand, Adelaide, Australia, November 2015.

Committees and reviewing

  • 2019- Editorial Board, European Oncology & Harmatology
  • 2016- Editorial Board, Journal of Clinical Nursing.
  • 2015- Editorial Board, Nurse Education Today.
  • 2015- Editorial Advisory Board, RCNI.
  • 2008-15, Associate Editor, European Journal of Oncology Nursing,
  • 2007- Editorial Advisory Board, Nursing Standard
  • 1999-15 Editorial Board, European Journal of Oncology Nursing.
  • 1998- Editorial Board, International Journal of Palliative Nursing



























  • Kelly, D., Scott, K. and Speechley, V. 1996. Assessment, communication and consent. In: Mallett, J. and Bailey, C. eds. The Royal Marsden Hospital Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures.. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Kelly, D. 1996. Male reproductive system cancers.. In: Tschudin, V. ed. Nursing the Paitent with Cancer.. Prentice Hall Nursing Series London: Prentice Hall., pp. 301-317.


Mainly Doctoral Supervision, 

Leadership and research methods at Masters & Doctoral level

Research Interests

My research interests have developed primarily out of my background in social sciences and an enduring interest in the needs and experiences of under-researched groups, such as men with prostate cancer or children and young people with cancer. I am also interested in a range of professional topics such as the scope and potential of nursing; questioning the everyday or mundane aspects of healthcare practice and the relationships between the social, physical and emotional dimensions of illness experience & care work.

My research outputs have been included in all RAE/REF exercises for various universities since 2001. 

In Cardiff a team I led established a Workforce Academy model to bring different disciplines together to explore demands, and possible ways forward, for issues facing the NHS workforce in Wales.

I enjoy collaborating with colleagues from different disciplines in the UK and overseas and have worked with a variety of research funders. My main interests reflect my roots in the social sciences including naturalistic/qualitative/ethnographic approaches.

Current/Recent Research

'Young Adults Rehabilitation experiences and needs following cerebral vascular accident – a scoping study’, RCN Foundation & @SameYouOrg charity. UK-wide collaboration, project based at Edinburgh University. (2019-20). See YARNS website

’The experiences of patients and professionals when cancer is diagnosed in emergency settings.’ with Karen Wingfield, RCBC Fellowship (2019-20).

'Strengthening the Nurse Director role: a UK study' (The Stronger Study), (PI) with Professor Pam Smith (Edinburgh), Professor Aisha Holloway (Edinburgh), Dr Aled Jones (Cardiff), Professor Anne Marie Rafferty (KCL), Professor Ruth Harris (KCL), Professor Joanne Reid (QUB), Dr Helen Noble (QUB). Professor Sharon Hamilton, (Teeside), Royal College of Nursing, 2019-20..

Evaluation of the NHS whistleblowing guardian role’. Co-app with Dr Aled Jones (PI), Professors Jill Maben (Surrey) & Russell Manion (Birmingham), & Dr Mary Adams (KCL) NIHR. Commenced May 2018.

 ‘Understanding continence management practices in acute settings for people with dementia: raising awareness and improving patient safety.’ Co-app with Katie Featherstone (PI) et al NIHR, Commenced November 2017.

‘An oral history of graduates from the earliest nursing degree programmes at Edinburgh University, 1960-70.’ (PI) Monica Baly History of Nursing Bursary (2016-18).

‘Developing resources to support a ‘Speak up’ campaign in the NHS context.’ (Co-app with Dr A Jones, ESRC, 2016-18)

‘Recognising the value of Cancer Nursing across Europe’ (ReCAN Project Phases 1 & 2). (PI, ECCO/EONS: 2016-18).

‘Providing support to people facing cancer who live alone.’ Tenovus. (Co-app, 2016-18).

'Resilience in nursing in Wales: current challenges and opportunities.’ Royal College of Nursing in Wales PhD studentship, 2014-18 (PI) With Dr A Jones.

‘Resilient Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Experiences of Executive Directors of Nursing in the wake of the Francis Report'. (PI) GNC Trust: 2013-15.

'Whistle blowing in relation to older person's care in Wales: A stakeholder analysis'. The Older Person's Commissioner, Wales. (PI with Dr A Jones: 2012-14).

'Talking with children with cancer about their disease and treatment: an ethnographic study'. (2012-15). (Co-app with Prof F Gibson, S Kumpunen, M Hortsman, Prof M Blubond-Langer). The Olivia Hodson Cancer Fund. 2011-14).

‘Perceptions of prostate cancer risk in African and Carribean men in South Wales: implications for health policy and supportive care.’ Funder: RCBC PhD Studentship (2012-17) Co-supervisor Prof J Hopkinson.

'Transition from active treatment to palliative care - drawing on the experiences of parents and professionals in a paediatric oncology unt'. (Lothian Health Board, Royal Sick Children's Hospital and Nursing Studies, Edinburgh University, PI with Professor P Smith and R Mc Andrew 2013-15).

'Contributing to the evidence base in workforce research'. (2012-16) Welsh Government, (PI) With Dr A Jones, Prof D Watkins Dr A McDermott, Prof B Hunter.


When I have capacity to take students I am interested in supervising topics of relevance including leadership, health systems and innovations. Clinical interests and expertise lie in prostate cancer, young oncology and end of life care. 

Current PhD students:

‘Resilience in Registered Nurses working in Wales.’ (Lead)

'The role of the father in care of children with congenital heart defect.’ (Lead) 

Leadership and medical laboratory service provision in Saudi Arabia’.(Lead)

'Perceptions of innovation in nurse recruitment in two healthcare organisations in Saudi Arabia' (Lead)

'Supervision for Health visitors working with vulnerable families: an ethnographic study' (Co-supervisor)

'Exploring the role of nurses caring for adolescents and young adults with cancer in specialist age-appropriate settings using narrative enquiry.' (Lead)

PACT: Exploring Patient Acceptance of Multiparametric MRI for the Investigation of Prostate Cancer.’ (UCL, Division of Surgery & Interventional Science). (MRC Fellowship, co-supervisor)

Managing concerns about clinical radiography provision in Ghana.’ (Co-supervisor).

The experiences of patients and professionals when cancer is diagnosed following an unplanned hospital attendance.’ (Lead)


UK PhD Examining Experience: Cardiff, KCL, City London, Glasgow, Stirling, UCLAN, Queen's Belfast, Canterbury, The Open University, Kingston, Huddersfield, Lancaster, City, Dundee, London South Bank, Surrey, Oxford Brookes.

International: University of Sydney, University of South Australia, University of Melbourne, University College Dublin.

Past projects

Previous PhD supervision (as main or co-supervisor):

The concept of Quality in Life in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.’ (2006, University College London).

The experience of cancer in Bangladeshi children in East London.’ (2007, Queen Mary, Uiniversity of London).

'Factors affecting the achievement of cancer waiting times targets in NHS Trusts: an exploratory study’. (2008, Middlesex University).

'Quality of life in colorectal cancer patients in Greece'. (2008, Middlesex University).

The supportive care needs of patients diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma’. (2008, City, University of London).

‘Patient refusal of dialysis in end stage renal disease’.  (2009, City, University of London).

'Sexual health needs of hard to reach young people'. (2010, Middlesex University).

The nurse-patient relationship in patients diagnosed with personality disorders in secure mental health settings.’ (2010, Middlesex University).

'The fluctuation of agency in adolescents and young adults with cancer.’ (2016, Cardiff University).

The sibling’s role in Cystic Fibrosis: a dramaturgical study.’ (2016, Cardiff University).

Risk perceptions of prostate cancer in men from BME groups and socially deprived areas of South Wales.’  (2017, Cardiff University).

 ‘A narrative study exploring representations of identity for young adults with cancer: from diagnosis through treatment.’ (2017, University College London).

Developing culturally apporpriate leadership for Nursing in Saudi Arabia.’  (2018, Cardiff University)

'Role extension opportunities in diagnostic radiography in Ghana and its potential to impact on patient care’  (2020, Cardiff University)