Dr John Adams

Senior lecturer (P/T)

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Nursing & Midwifery

Location: Peterborough (Guild House)

Areas of Expertise: Nursing and midwifery

John lectures on research methods, healthcare ethics and law, and quality issues to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and supervises undergraduate major projects. He also supports doctoral students and research activities at the Peterborough campus.

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With a background in intensive care and gerontological nursing, John worked in several hospitals in the London area. He developed a special interest in reminiscence activities with older people and participated in the movement to link them with academic research into oral and community history. Moving into nurse education led to posts in Northamptonshire and London, and research interests in the area of gross self-neglect amongst older people living in the community. He moved to Cambridgeshire in 1998, and has been based in Papworth, Cambridge and Peterborough. John has a special interest in helping clinical staff from local NHS Trusts to publish their work.

Study at the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London led to a continuing interest in the history of health and social care, with a particular focus on the Cinderella services. His PhD was a study of Fulbourn Hospital using oral history and documentary sources to explore the models of mental illness and the therapeutic practices associated with them in one provincial English psychiatric hospital during the second half of the twentieth century.

Research interests

  • History of health and social care
  • Care of older people
  • NHS service development projects
  • Nurse education

John has recently completed a project which used oral history and documentary sources to explore mental health nursing practice in the post-World War Two era. This period saw the rise of physical interventions such as leucotomy, insulin coma therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and the introduction of a social model of care which led to the establishment of therapeutic communities. While much has been written about the legal and administrative aspects of a period which saw the closure of the large and isolated former Victorian asylums, comparatively little is known about nurses’ clinical practice and their relationships with other professionals.

Areas of research supervision

  • Nurse education
  • History of health and social care
  • Second supervisor: 'What influences registered nurses when considering mentoring and mentorship?' (DProf - Jan Lovelle)


  • Pre and post-registration nurse education in Peterborough


  • MA, University of Cambridge
  • Diploma in the History of Medicine, Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London
  • PGCE(FE), University College, Cardiff
  • BSc, The Open University
  • MA, University of Leicester
  • MPhil, University of Leicester
  • PhD, The Open University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow of the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Honorary research associate, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Bank senior lecturer, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Member, Art & Science Advisory Board, Nursing Standard
  • Reviewer, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Journal of Clinical Nursing

Selected recent publications

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Chandrakumar, S., Adams, J., 2015. Attitudes to smoking and smoking cessation among nurses. Nursing Standard, 30(9), pp.36-40.

Adams, J., 2015. British nurses’ attitudes to electroconvulsive therapy, 1945 – 2000. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(10), pp.2393-2401. DOI: 10.1111/jan.12704

Howe, P., Adams, J., 2015. Reducing urinary tract infections in catheterised patients. Nursing Standard, 29(20), pp.42-48.

Smith, J., Pearson, L., Adams, J., 2014. Incorporating a service improvement project into an undergraduate nursing programme: a pilot study. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 20(6), pp.623-628.

Connor, M., Hunt, C., Lindley, A., Adams, J., 2014. Using abdominal massage in bowel management. Nursing Standard, 28(45), pp.37-42.

Quinn, D., Adams, J., 2014. Developing a community multiple sclerosis service. Nursing Standard, 28 (37), pp.46-50.

Adams, J., 2014. Commentary on ‘Fealy G., Kelly J. & Watson R. (2013) Legitimacy in legacy: a discussion paper of historical scholarship published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, 1976-2011’. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69(8), 1881-1894. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(4), pp.946-947.

Adams, J., Carney, M., Kearns, T., 2014. Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery. 40th Anniversary History 1974 – 2014. Dublin: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. [Available at: www.rcsi.ie/anniversary]

Timmins, F., Adams, J., 2014. Editorial: The challenges and rewards of growing and sustaining nurturing environments for all staff. Journal of Nursing Management, 22(6), pp.679-684.

Higgins, C., Adams, J., 2013. Developing a code of conduct for support workers. British Journal of Health Care Assistants, 7(12), pp.606-609.

Hasker, R., Sturgess, E., Adams, J., 2013. Dementia care advisors transforming care. Journal of Dementia Care, 21(6), pp.16-17.

Fawdon, H., Adams, J., 2013. Advanced clinical practitioner role in the emergency department. Nursing Standard, 28(16 -18), pp.48-51.

Howe, P., Rufeea, K., Adams, J., 2013. The challenge of health care associated-infection: experience with the Kettering Infection Predictor tool. Nursing Standard, 27(34), pp.35-41.

Adams, J., 2009. The nursing role in the use of insulin coma therapy for schizophrenia in Britain, 1936 – 1965. In: C Hallett, ed. 2015. The History of Nursing. London: Routledge. Vol.4, Ch.69, pp.348-363.

Recent presentations and conferences

Adams, J., 2016. Writing for nursing publications for MS nurses. Get Smart 2 Conference, London, 11 March.

Chatterton, C., Yarwood, D., Adams, J., 2014. Nursing history presentations. RCN Congress, Liverpool, 18 June.

Adams, J., 2014. Scandals in care settings: learning the lessons of history. 33rd Annual Nursing Research Conference, Faculty of Nursing – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, 20 February.

Adams, J., 2013. ‘The terror of therapeutic impotence’: deep insulin coma therapy in schizophrenia. 14th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference, Trinity College Dublin, 6 – 7 November.

Adams, J., 2013. Nursing obituaries as the shared memory of the profession. 32nd Annual Nursing Research Conference, Faculty of Nursing – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, 21 February.