Mr Christopher Wagstaff BA, Msc, RMN (DIP).



Contact details

52 Pritchatts Road, Nursing
School of Health and Population Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT


Chris Wagstaff is a nursing lecturer at the School of Health & Population Sciences, University of Birmingham, where he has worked since 2004. As a lecturer on the BNurs programme he has teaching, administration and research responsibilities. The details of his undergraduate teaching are listed below and his PhD research is a qualitative study into why people disengage from mental health services. In terms of administrative responsibility Chris Wagstaff is the mental health branch leader and the deputy admissions tutor. Amongst his responsibilities as branch leader are the coordination of the teaching on the clinical modules, having an overview of the students who are doing mental health placements, liaising with the local mental health trust, ensuring the mental health curriculum reflects current policy and best practice and raising the profile of mental health issues on the BNurs programme. As deputy admissions tutor he has responsibility for Access, ROP and A2B applicants.  

Chris Wagstaff is the father of a son with autism, and uses this experience to teach about autism to undergraduate students and takes a keen interest in the latest research about autism.


  • 2010-Present  PhD study
  • 2010 PG Cert Ed – University of Birmingham
  • 2004 Clinical Nurse Specialist in Mental Health
  • 2003 University of Birmingham Msc Health Science
  • 1995 RMN (Dip) Birmingham & Solihull College of Nursing & Midwifery
  • UKCC PIN#: 92C0606E
  • 1990 University of Birmingham Philosophy BA 2:2


Chris Wagstaff grew up in Holland and America, and as an undergraduate student attended the University of Birmingham, studying philosophy. Following graduation he started his career working as a nursing assistant at the Midland Nerve Hospital. He started his nurse training at Hollymoor hospital in 1992 - meaning Chris graduated from the short lived Birmingham & Solihull College of Nursing and Midwifery. Doing his training from 1992 to 1995 meant that Chris was one the first cohorts of nurses to complete the new diploma course and in the position to see the transition between two generations of mental health care: the end of the asylum years through to 'care in the community'. Post registration his first job was as a staff nurse in Solihull hospital. Whilst in that position he took courses in Dual Diagnosis, Medication Management in Psychosis, Behavioural Family Therapy and the THORN initiative - all courses designed for caring for people with a severe and enduring mental illness. After working as an in-patient staff nurse he went on to work as a ward/ community link nurse, a family-therapy-in-psychosis nurse and then three successive jobs in different Assertive Outreach Teams. His final clinical job was as the Senior Clinical Coordinator for the South Worcestershire Assertive Outreach team. In 2001 he enrolled on the Msc in Health Sciences at the University of Birmingham, and on completion he became a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Mental Health.  

He joined the University of Birmingham as a member of staff in 2004, and became branch leader for mental health in 2005. After completing his PG Cert Ed he then went on to focus on his PhD, which examines why people with a severe and enduring mental illness disengage from mental health services. Since starting at the University Chris always done a high amount of teaching, on the Diploma and on BNurs courses. The majority of his teaching has been on the clinical modules, both to the branch students and the 1st years on their common foundation year. Chris' main teaching achievements have been writing the mental health component of the 2007 BNurs (with support from colleagues), been part of the team that built the ILaSH website, the development of the On-Line Assessment workbook in open access internet and starting and continuing to organize the Collaborative Learning Initiative {CLI}.

At present, the highest proportion of his teaching time is invested in the Introduction to Nursing module and the CLI. However, he is also the module leader for the Conceptual frameworks & interventions in mental health and the Collaborative mental health modules.


Chris Wagstaff has lead responsibility for mental health teaching/ placements in the 1st year clinical module - Introduction to Nursing;

Chris Wagstaff has a large role to play in three of the clinical branches in both the 2nd and 3rd years: -“Foundations of Mental Health nursing”, "Conceptual Frameworks & Interventions in mental health" & "Collaborative Mental Health".

As part of the "Conceptual Frameworks" module there is the Collaborative Learning Initiative (CLI), this is joint teaching and learning between Junior Medics, Social Work, Clinical Psychology & Nursing students.  Chris Wagstaff is the lead organizer of this initiative. The initiative is, in part, designed, taught and evaluated by service users and carers.

Chris Wagstaff also teaches single sessions on the adult nursing “Critical Care” module, mental health nursing “Promoting mental health and recovery” module, the 1st year “Health Promotion” module and the Physiotherapy AIPP module


Chris Wagstaff is currently undertaking his PhD; the working title of his PhD is “An exploration of service user’s experiences of disengagement from mental health services”.  It is a qualitative study looking at the reasons why people with severe and enduring mental illness disengage from statutory services.

In conjunction with colleagues from different academic/ professionals backgrounds they are two papers being written in relation to the CLI. One qualitative, looking at the themes generated by the participant feedback and the other a two-step/ two year quantitative 

Other activities

  • Chris Wagstaff attends the Lead Nurse meetings for Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust;
  • Chris Wagstaff is part of the Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust nurse research forum.
  • Chris Wagstaff makes on-going contributions to the research stream of the Nursing Strategy for Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.
  • Chris Wagstaff contributed on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing to the NICE guidelines on the Management of Bipolar Disorder in adults, children and adolescents, in primary and secondary care.


Joint authorship on “African Caribbean Fathers’ Practices to Enable Children’s Mental Health within Families and Communities: a qualitative study” in Sociology of Health and Illness (in press)

Lead Authorship on Self concept and disengagement from mental health services’ in Mental Health Practice (in press);

Randall, D., Williams, R. & Wagstaff, C. (2010) The parent trap: promoting poor children’s mental health, Poverty, 137, pp. 11-14.

Singh-Cooner, T. & Wagstaff, C. (2008) Learning together: Reflections on Developing an Online Assessment Skills Workbook for Health and Social Care Students, in Designing for Learning: e-learning@greenwich/conference, the University of Greenwich

Wagstaff, C. (2007) Towards understanding the self-perception of people with a psychotic illness who use illicit substances and have a history of disengagement from mental health services: qualitative research.  International Journal of Psychiatric Nursing Research, 12(3), pp: 1503-20

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