Imperial College London

Professor Mary Wells

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Professor of Practice (Cancer Nursing)



+44 (0)20 3311 7422mary.wells




Education Centre CXH Nursing DirectorateCharing Cross HospitalCharing Cross Campus





Mary Wells is the Deputy Director of Nursing - Research at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and a Professor of Practice in Cancer Nursing at Imperial College.   

Mary graduated from Guy's Hospital and South Bank with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies in 1988.  She has a Masters in Cancer Care (with Distinction) from the Institute of Cancer Research (1995) and a PhD from the University of Dundee (2007).  

She moved to Imperial in November 2017 from the University of Stirling, where she was a Professor of Cancer Nursing Research and Practice at the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP-RU).  She was previously a Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee, and has a clinical background in radiotherapy and oncology, and head and neck cancer care.

Mary's main research interest is cancer rehabilitation and survivorship.  She has a particular interest in the nursing contribution to cancer care and in improving patient-reported outcomes and experiences.  She has methodological expertise in qualitative and complex interventions research, including RCTs and the study of context.

Mary is chair of the 'Impact and Metrics' subgroup of the Clinical Academic Research Implementation Network (CARIN), a member of the NCRI Head and Neck cancer Survivorship and Epidemiology subgroup, the Macmillan Cancer Support Nursing Advisory group and the NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship panel.  She is also on the Fellowships committee of the Imperial Health Charity.  Mary served a two year term as the London member of the Royal College of Nursing's Professional Nursing Committee from 2017-2019.   Until 2019 she was co-chair of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) Research Working Group, having been a board member from 2009-2016.  She was also a subgroup lead in the NCRI's Psychosocial and Survivorship Clinical Studies Group (2013-2019).

As Deputy Director of Nursing - Research at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Mary is leading the development of clinical academic careers and research in nursing and midwifery, and is part of the CATO team to mentor and support nurses and midwives who wish to pursue a clinical academic role.  

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Leon-Villapalos C, Wells M, Brett S, 2020, An exploratory study of staff perceptions of shift safety in the critical care unit and routinely available data on workforce, patient and organisational factors, Bmj Open, Vol:10, ISSN:2044-6055

Torrens C, Campbell P, Hoskins G, et al., 2020, Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of the advanced nurse practitioner role in primary care settings: A scoping review, International Journal of Nursing Studies, Vol:104, ISSN:0020-7489

Lang H, France EF, Williams B, et al., 2018, The existence and importance of patients' mental images of their head and neck cancer: A qualitative study, PLOS One, Vol:13, ISSN:1932-6203

Charalambous A, Wells M, Campbell P, et al., 2018, A scoping review of trials of interventions led or delivered by cancer nurses, International Journal of Nursing Studies, Vol:86, ISSN:0020-7489, Pages:36-43

Macleod M, Steele RJC, O'Carroll RE, et al., 2018, Feasibility study to assess the delivery of a lifestyle intervention (TreatWELL) for patients with colorectal cancer undergoing potentially curative treatment, Bmj Open, Vol:8, ISSN:2044-6055

Gillies K, Bower P, Elliott J, et al., 2018, Systematic Techniques to Enhance rEtention in Randomised controlled trials: the STEER study protocol, Trials, Vol:19, ISSN:1745-6215

Campbell P, Torrens C, Kelly D, et al., 2017, Recognizing European cancer nursing: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence of effectiveness and value of cancer nursing, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol:73, ISSN:0309-2402, Pages:3144-3153

Wells M, King E, 2017, Patient adherence to swallowing exercises in head and neck cancer, Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, Vol:25, ISSN:1068-9508, Pages:175-181

Cunningham M, Wells M, 2017, Qualitative analysis of 6961 free-text comments from the first National Cancer Patient Experience Survey in Scotland, Bmj Open, Vol:7, ISSN:2044-6055

Wells M, Aitchison P, Harris F, et al., 2017, Barriers and facilitators to smoking cessation in a cancer context: A qualitative study of patient, family and professional views, Bmc Cancer, Vol:17

Coles E, Wells M, Maxwell M, et al., 2017, The influence of contextual factors on healthcare quality improvement initiatives: what works, for whom and in what setting? Protocol for a realist review, Systematic Reviews, Vol:6

Wells M, King E, Toft K, et al., 2016, Development and feasibility of a Swallowing intervention Package (SiP) for patients receiving radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer-the SiP study protocol, Pilot and Feasibility Studies, Vol:2, ISSN:2055-5784

Wells M, Swartzman S, Lang H, et al., 2016, Predictors of quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors up to 5 years after end of treatment: a cross-sectional survey, Supportive Care in Cancer, Vol:24, ISSN:0941-4355, Pages:2463-2472

France EF, Wells M, Lang H, et al., 2016, Why, when and how to update a meta-ethnography qualitative synthesis, Systematic Reviews, Vol:5

Levati S, Campbell P, Frost R, et al., 2016, Optimisation of complex health interventions prior to a randomised controlled trial: a scoping review of strategies used., Pilot Feasibility Stud, Vol:2, ISSN:2055-5784

Bruce J, Thornton AJ, Powell R, et al., 2014, Psychological, surgical, and sociodemographic predictors of pain outcomes after breast cancer surgery: A population-based cohort study, Pain, Vol:155, ISSN:0304-3959, Pages:232-243

Lang H, France E, Williams B, et al., 2013, The psychological experience of living with head and neck cancer: a systematic review and meta-synthesis, Psycho-Oncology, Vol:22, ISSN:1057-9249, Pages:2648-2663

Wells M, Williams B, Firnigl D, et al., 2013, Supporting 'work-related goals' rather than 'return to work' after cancer? A systematic review and meta-synthesis of 25 qualitative studies, Psycho-Oncology, Vol:22, ISSN:1057-9249, Pages:1208-1219

Jones MC, Wells M, Gao C, et al., 2013, Work stress and well-being in oncology settings: a multidisciplinary study of health care professionals, Psycho-Oncology, Vol:22, ISSN:1057-9249, Pages:46-53

Bruce J, Thornton AJ, Scott NW, et al., 2012, Chronic preoperative pain and psychological robustness predict acute postoperative pain outcomes after surgery for breast cancer, British Journal of Cancer, Vol:107, ISSN:0007-0920, Pages:937-946

Wells M, Williams B, Treweek S, et al., 2012, Intervention description is not enough: evidence from an in-depth multiple case study on the untold role and impact of context in randomised controlled trials of seven complex interventions, Trials, Vol:13, ISSN:1745-6215, Pages:1-17

Wells M, Kelly D, 2008, The loneliness of cancer, European Journal of Oncology Nursing, Vol:12, ISSN:1462-3889, Pages:410-411

Williams B, Entwistle V, Haddow G, et al., 2008, Promoting research participation: Why not advertise altruism?, Social Science & Medicine, Vol:66, ISSN:0277-9536, Pages:1451-1456

MacMillan MS, Wells M, MacBride S, et al., 2007, Randomized comparison of dry dressings versus hydrogel in management of radiation-induced moist desquamation, International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, Vol:68, ISSN:0360-3016, Pages:864-872

Krishnasamy M, Wells M, Wilkie E, 2007, Patients and carer experiences of care provision after a diagnosis of lung cancer in Scotland, Supportive Care in Cancer, Vol:15, ISSN:0941-4355, Pages:327-332

Wells M, Macmillan M, Raab G, et al., 2004, Does aqueous or sucralfate cream affect the severity of erythernatous radiation skin reactions? A randomised controlled trial, Radiotherapy and Oncology, Vol:73, ISSN:0167-8140, Pages:153-162

Wells M, Harrow A, Donnan P, et al., 2004, Patient, carer and health service outcomes of nurse-led early discharge after breast cancer surgery: a randomised controlled trial, British Journal of Cancer, Vol:91, ISSN:0007-0920, Pages:651-658

Moore S, Corner J, Haviland J, et al., 2002, Nurse led follow up and conventional medical follow up in management of patients with lung cancer: randomised trial, British Medical Journal, Vol:325, ISSN:1756-1833, Pages:1145-1147

Wells M, 1998, The hidden experience of radiotherapy to the head and neck: a qualitative study of patients after completion of treatment, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol:28, ISSN:0309-2402, Pages:840-848

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