Professor Debra Towse

Debra Teasdale

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Medical Education Development)
Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing

Prior to joining Christ Church, I worked within in healthcare settings across the UK and abroad. I progressed from registered Nurse to Nursing Sister within 18 months of qualification, working in the speciality of neonatal intensive care.

In 1986, I received a commission into the QARANC (Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps), which bought my ‘acute’ nursing skills into play in an alternative and challenging environment. I recall many happy weekends in full NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical)  protection kit, crawling through sewerage pipes and mud, and seeing fantastic views from the top of the Brecon Beacons after battling with the never-ending steep terrain...these challenges created mental and physical resilience, essential for work within a territorial army field and general hospital unit.

In 1996, I was fortunate to become one of the first cohort of Master's-qualified Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioners in the NHS, working across the nursing medical boundaries, ensuring newborn, sick and premature infants received high-quality dynamic medical and nursing care at all times.

My interest in education flourished as I led and developed the first UK-wide Career and Education Framework for Neonatal Nursing, on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), while an active member of the RCN Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care forum. The communication, negotiation and solution-focused skills developed during my career have underpinned my success within higher education, and enabled me to progress from a Lecturer Practitioner in 2003 to Dean in 2013.

I have an ongoing interest in ensuring transparency in working practices within the academic role, but my real passion remains neonatal care. I continue to lead a project in Vietnam where we deliver training to upskill the local workforce, which is directly contributing to reducing infant mortality.

As a result of my interests, equality, sustainability and international perspectives are all important in my work.

As the Dean, my focus continues to be leadership within the Faculty and across the University to address risk in relation to changes in student funding for pre-registration healthcare students in 2017. To this end, I am an active participant in the Council of Deans for Health and the Million Plus Health Group, ensuring the view and experience of our area is heard. I have excellent links across the health and care sector at strategic level, to ensure that the University can meet the emerging needs of health, care and public health as the wider environment goes through its ongoing transformation.

I am the Strategic Lead for the Medway Campus, and work with colleagues at the campus and those from the Universities of Kent and Greenwich to support enhancement of the student experience, and the development of a cohesive and expanding campus offer.

I am a strong believer in supporting all staff to reach their potential, which requires transparency and equity so I have played a key role in implementing the University academic workload profile principles into practice and am working to evaluate this. I also coach on the Aurora programmes and represent the Deans on the JNCC (Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee) with the unions. In addition, I am the University's Armed Forces Champion and will be ensuring that we meet, and hopefully exceed, the demands of the recently signed Armed Forces Covenant.

What are your current priorities?

My current priorities relate to ensuring our excellent relationships across the health and care sector are maintained and developed further to support emerging workforce changes – such as the apprenticeship agenda and the potential Kent and Medway Medical School initiative.

What inspires you about Christ Church?

Its values, the community and our shared desire to make a fundamental difference across all strata of society.

Contact Details


E: Kamilla Razik,
T : 01227 921815 

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Last edited: 25/08/2020 14:27:00