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Case Study

Dr John Unsworth

Head of Learning and Teaching Enhancement

I am Head of Learning & Teaching Enhancement and the Head of CELT at the University of Sunderland. I work with academic and professional service colleagues to develop learning and teaching across all of the University's four campuses.

As a registered nurse I teach on the undergraduate nursing programmes at the University and I am the Director of Studies and a supervisor for a number of PhD and Professional Doctorate students.

I completed my initial nurse education in Sunderland in 1988 moving on to specialise in District Nursing in 1991. I hold a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Science, BA in Community Health Nursing, Masters degrees in Community Health Care and Medical Law and a PhD.

I began my current role in July 2017 and prior to this I was Head of Academic Development at the Higher Education Academy managing the HEAs discipline and thematic work both in the UK and Internationally. My previous roles in Higher Education have included Head of Subject Division and Director of Programmes as well as working as a Principal and Senior Lecturer. I have extensive NHS experience as a practitioner and senior manager and I continue to work in NHS Commissioning as a member of a Clinical Commissioning Group.

I was made a National Teaching Fellow in 2013 for my work in clinical simulation and authentic assessment and a Principal Fellow of the HEA in 2016. I have a range of experience in teacher development and pedagogical practice both within the UK and internationally having taught for the Ministry of Health in Thailand, Ministry of Health in Grenada (West Indies) and in China.

Research / Enterprise

Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education £80,000
Unsworth, J and Wright, K
Nankai University, China

Palliative Care and Pain Control Programme £20,000
Cochrane, G, Unsworth, J and Tucker, G
Ministry of Health, Grenada / PAHRO

Healthcare Simulation Facilitator Development Programme £130,000
Rowe, M Unsworth, J Tucker G, Kelleher, M et al
Ministry of Health, Thailand

Building Community Capacity - programme design £80,000
Pearson, P, Franklin, G, Proud, C, Unsworth, J, Bennett, J, Coates, M, et al

Discrepancy creation as a catalyst to student learning during intermediate fidelity human patient simulation.
Unsworth, J, Melling, Allen, J, Tuffnell, C - September 2010 - September 2011

Assessing the psychometric properties of the Total Client Care and Leading and Managing Care Assessment tools
Unsworth, J and Melling, A - September 2011 - present


Unsworth, J (2013) Accountability and Professional Regulation In Patient Safety for Nurses Learning Matters Series (Melanie Fisher and Margaret Scott eds.). Sage: London 

Unsworth, J, Tucker, G, and Hindmarsh, Y (2015) Man versus machine: the importance of manual blood pressure measurement skills amongst registered nurses. Journal of Hospital Administration,4(6); 61-67

Tucker, G, Unsworth, J and Hindmarsh, Y (2015) First do no harm: teaching and assessing the recognition and rescue of the deteriorating patient. Journal of Nurse Education and Practice, 5(6); 31-38

Unsworth, J. Melling, A. Allan, J. Tuffnell, C.(2015) Improving Performance amongst nursing students through the discovery of discrepancies during simulation. Nurse Education in Practice, 16(1); 47-53

Unsworth, J, Melling, A. Tuffnell, C. Platt, A. Kelleher, M and Tucker, G (2014) Assessing human factors during simulation: the development and preliminary validation of the Rescue assessment tool. Journal of Nurse Education and Practice 4(5); 52-63 

Charlton, D, Carrick-Sen, D and Unsworth, J (2013) Previous trauma history and PTSD in men and women following high risk childbirth. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 31(3); E5-E6

Unsworth, J, Lawton, S and Linkleater, G (2012) How did it come to this? Using causal network analysis in practice and service development. International Practice Development Journal, http://www.fons.org/library/journal/volume2-issue1/article3

Unsworth, J, Tuffnell, C, Platt, A (2011) Safer Care at Home: the use of simulation to improve standards, British Journal of Community Nursing, 16(7); 334-339

Unsworth, J, McKeever, M, Kelleher, M (2011) Recognition of physical deterioration in patients with mental health problems: the role of simulation in knowledge and skill development. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 19(6); 536-545

Unsworth, J (2011) District Nurses and aseptic technique: where did it all go wrong? British Journal of Community Nursing, 16(1); 29-44

Unsworth, J (2011) Performing Aseptic Technique in a community setting: fact or fiction? Primary Health Care Research and Development, 12(1); 42-51

Unsworth, J (2010) Student Professional Suitability: lessons from how the regulator handles fitness to practise. Nurse Education Today, 31(5); 466-471

More information

Areas of expertise

  • Clinical simulation
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Assessment & Feedback
  • Authentic Assessment
  • Competence Assessment
  • Patient Safety
  • Community Nursing
  • Public Health


Tel: 0191 515 2930
Email: john.unsworth@sunderland.ac.uk
Location: CELT, Second Floor, St Peter’s Gate, St Peter’s Campus, Charles Street, Sunderland, SR6 0AN
Service: Centre for the Enhancement of Learning & Teaching (CELT)

Esteem Indicators

Trustee / Council Member, The Queen’s Nursing Institute
Chair, Professional Conduct Committee, Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
Governing Body Registered Nurse, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group

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