Professor Stephen Wordsworth

Deputy Dean - International, Partnerships and Student Experience

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Education and teaching

Stephen’s key areas of expertise relate to the internationalisation of higher education, higher education access and student experience, and healthcare regulation. Stephen has a track record of successful leadership in higher education.

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Stephen has worked in a number of UK universities, including previous managerial roles as Head of Department and Head of School.  He began his career as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) and was the first ODP in the UK to be awarded a Professorship in 2013.

Stephen has held a number of influential professional roles, during which time he has contributed to and authored a number of national policy and curriculum documents. He has held a number of positions on behalf of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which is an independent UK-wide multi-professional regulator, and is currently a registrant member of the HCPC Council.

Research interests

  • Access and widening participation to Higher Education
  • Professional roles and student identity 
  • Higher Education theory and pedagogy
  • Professionalism and healthcare regulation

Through his pedagogic interests Stephen has presented at a number of international conferences and is an experienced curriculum designer. He is interested in the transformative nature of higher education both in policy and practice. His research has extended into areas of learning and teaching, and innovation in assessment, through to improved access to health services for marginalized groups. Stephen’s doctoral research extended the concepts of student choice and professional identity into the Allied Health Professions in order to understand and improve the student experience.

Areas of research supervision

Stephen would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Student identity, experience and choice and belonging higher education
  • Peri-operative practice and patient safety in the operating theatre
  • New roles and professional responsibilities in healthcare education
  • Professional regulation, competence and fitness to practice
  • Higher education pedagogy and practice

Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:

  • The impact of education and training on non-technical skills in perioperative practice (current)
  • Understanding the implications of the Human Development approach for youth policy in Nigeria (Niger Delta) (current)


Stephen has experience of teaching on health courses both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He tends nowadays to concentrate on issues of regulation professionalism and on legal and ethical issues in healthcare.


  • Doctorate of Education, The University of Sheffield
  • MSc Health and Social Care Practice, Sheffield Hallam University
  • PG Cert Educational Leadership, Sheffield Hallam University
  • BA Education, Huddersfield University
  • Certificate in Higher Education (Cert Ed) Huddersfield University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Registrant Member, HCPC Council
  • Member, Education and Training Committee, HCPC
  • Fellow of the College of Operating Department Practitioner
  • Member of the Council of Deans for Health

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Somali community access to sexual health services (Principal Investigator)
  • Exploring the use of digital media as a tool for enhancing student assessment feedback (Co-investigator)

Selected recent publications

Abbott, H. and Wordsworth, S. (eds). Case Studies in Operating Department Practice, OU Press, London, (publication July 2016)

Wordsworth, S. (2015) Student Choice in the field of Operating Department Practice, Journal of Operating Department Practice, March/April, Vol 3, No 2, pages 352 - 25

Abbott, H. and Wordsworth, S. (2014) Improving Safety Culture: a profession in the fast lane, Journal of Operating Department Practice, Vol 2, (5), pages 231 – 235

Wordsworth, S. (2014) Professional Practice and the Operating Department Practitioner, in Abbott, H. and Booth, H. Foundations in Operating Department Practice, OU Press, London

Wordsworth, S. (2007) Accountability in Perioperative Practice, in Smith, B. Rawlings, P.  Jones, C. & Wicker, P. (2007) In Core Topics in Operating Department Practice: Anaesthesia & Intensive Care, Cambridge University Press

Wordsworth, S. (2003) contributing author, The Application for Regulation of Operating Department Practitioners by the Health Professions Council, AODP, Guildford

Wordsworth, S. (2003) The Scope of Practice for Registered ODPs, Project Manager, The Association of Operating Department Practitioners (AODP), Guildford

Recent presentations and conferences

Abbott, H. and Wordsworth, S. 2015. Internationalising Perioperative Simulation – Our experience of Facilitating Simulation in Kuwait, poster presented at the annual Scottish Clinical Skills Network (SCSN), Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries, Scotland.

Surgical Site Infection: a UK perspective (Keynote) 2014. Viet Duc Hospital National Nursing Conference, Hanoi, Viet Nam

Lessons from F1 motor racing; improving non-technical skills in the perioperative environment, 2014. Delivering Safe & Effective Operating Theatres, M&K update, The Royal College of General Practitioners, London

Ensuring Patient Safety in UK Operating Theatres, 2014. Viet Nam Operating Room Nurses Conference, Na Nang, The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam   

‘Lessons’ from F1; 2014. Improving Operating Department Practice Students’ Non-technical skills: An Innovative Approach to Simulation, ASPiH Scottish Symposium

Improving Operating Theatre Safety: human factors and lessons from Formula1, 2014. The 6th Scientific Nursing Conference, Nam Dinh University of Nursing, The Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Choice in the Allied Health Professions: exploring the field, 2012. New Voices in Higher Education and Lifelong Learning Research Conference, University of Sheffield.

Student Choice in the Allied Health Professions, 2011. Centre for Health and Social Care Annual Research Conference, Birmingham City University

Managing the Challenges of Student Fitness to Practice, 2010. Association of University Administrators (AUA) Annual Conference, University of Warwick

Student Fitness for Practice- safeguarding professional standards, 2009. Annual College of Operating Department Practitioners Conference, Birmingham

The Role of the ODP in the UK Operating Theatre, 2004. Keynote address, presented at the Annual Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) Conference, Washington DC, USA

Media experience

Some live radio experience