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Tessa Watts

Dr Tessa Watts

Reader: Supportive Care

School of Healthcare Sciences

+44 29225 10963
Eastgate House, Room 13.14, 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 Complex Long-term Conditions.

Since 2019 I have been an Honorary Professor at Swansea University.

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 a co-applicant on the NIHR funded IPrehab study which commenced in April 2023 and have led the systematic review workpackage to timely completion and publication.

















  • 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






Book sections

  • Watts, T. 2016. Types of review and their purpose. In: Glasper, A. and Rees, C. eds. Nursing and Healthcare Research at a Glance. Wiley Blackwell, pp. 4-6.
  • 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 enjoy collaborating and working with multiprofessional researchers, healthcare professionals and member of the public in my research. I am an deputy theme lead of the School of Healthcare Sciences' Complex Long Term Conditions research theme and member of the Univiersity's Systems Immunity Research Institute and School's Cancer Research group.

Research projects

Current and recent funded research

IPrehab: Inclusive prehab (I-Prehab) to address inequity in cancer outcomes: mixed methods evaluation research to enhance access, acceptance and adherence. NIHR HSD&R Professor Jane Hopkinson (CI). Commenced April 2023 for three years. Collaboration with Swansea and Sussex universities, Wales Cancer Network and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

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,  Dr Dean Whybrow (all Cardiff 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 Anna Sydor, Dr Dean Whybrow (all Cardiff University), Professor Richard Kyle (Exeter University), Professor Jonathan Bisson (Cardiff University), Ms Naomi Marfell (Canopi), Dr Thomas Kitchen (Canopi).    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), 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 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 have an academic grounding in the social and political sciences and nursing and am an active qualitative researcher, leading and contributing to funded research projects, publishing and making conference presentations with a focus on chronic illness/conditions, most particularly advanced cancer, and supporting the wellbeing of health care workers wellbeing with regard to moral distress. I examine at doctoral level. I review grant applications for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Scheme, Research Capacity Building Collaboration Wales (RCBC Wales), Worldwidecancer Research, Yorkshire Cancer Research, General Nursing Council Trust (GNCT) 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) and I regularly review for several high quality international journals.

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/ College Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies

1996-2003 - Senior Lecturer, Swansea University.

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.

Committees and reviewing

  • Grant reviewer, Research for Public and Patient Benefit (England 2014 ongoing)
  • Grant reviewer General Nursing Council Trust (2024)
  • Grant reviewer Yorkshire Cancer Research (2023) 
  • Grant reviewer NIHR (2023)
  • Grant reviewer, Research Capacity Building Collaboration (RCBC) Wales (2018 - ongoing)
  • Scientific reviewer International Council of Cancer Nurses Conference (2019 - ongoing)
  • Scientific reviewer International Nurse Education today/ Nurse Education in Practice Conference (2019 - ongoing)
  • Editorial Board, Nurse Education in Practice (2014-2019)
  • Grant reviewer, Tenovus Cancer Care


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 Aberystwyth University, 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:

Eunice Temeng (PhD - full time) 

Louise Silva (PhD - full time)

Laurie Smith (MD - full time)

Harriet Coxon (MD - full time)

Fran Mada (DProf-Part time)

Bart Eboka (DProf- Part time) 

Ope Sogaolu (MD- full time)

Naomi Marfell (PhD- part time)

Rebecca Summers (PhD - Swansea University)

Past projects


  • Effects of Rehabilitation on Cardiac Patients' Health Related Quality of Life in Kuwait (Swansea University PhD)
  • An Exploratory Mixed-Methods Investigation of Adult Hearing Aid Users and the Relationships of Hearing Aid Use with Anxiety, Depression, Loneliness, and Social Inclusion (Swansea University PhD)
  • Experiences of Early Career Nurses working in Specialist Adolescent/Young Adult Cancer Units: A Narrative Inquiry (Cardiff University DProf)
  • Realist Evaluation of Cancer Rehabilitation Services in Wales(Cardiff University PhD - Macmillan funded)
  • Exploring journeys for older people with cancer (PhD- Full Time: Swansea University- Tenovus funded) 
  • Can 3D camera imaging provide improved information to assess and manage lymphoedema in clinical practice? (Swansea University DProf)
  • Lymphoedma Risk Reducing Recommendations (Breast Cancer) (Swansea University DProf)

Research themes


  • cancer
  • Cancer therapy
  • Workforce
  • Wellbeing
  • Nursing