Elsa Afonso

Senior Lecturer Adult Nursing

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

School:School of Nursing and Midwifery

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Nursing and midwifery , Global healthcare

Research Supervision:Yes

Elsa is a registered adult nurse and specialist neonatal intensive care nurse. She has clinical experience in acute and critical care as well as clinical research, clinical education and global health. She joined ARU in August 2020 as a senior lecturer in pre-registration adult nursing.


Elsa is a registered adult nurse and specialist neonatal intensive care nurse. She has worked as a nurse in different countries and healthcare settings. Elsa has a specialisation in Neonatal Intensive Care and an MSc in Global Health from Trinity College Dublin. Her dissertation was a qualitative exploration of the healthcare service experiences of immigrant parents of infants admitted to a NICU in central Dublin. She has worked with Médecins Sans Frontieres in a HIV/AIDS project in rural Zimbabwe and is a core member of the Neonatal Nurses Teaching in Botswana, a Cambridge Global Health Partnerships/ MoH Botswana initiative since 2016.

She is currently a PhD candidate in Ghent University. Her thesis looks at the impact of neonatal late-onset sepsis in the mortality and morbidities of infants admitted to NICU.

Spoken Languages

  • Portuguese
  • English
  • Spanish.

Research interests

Elsa's Research interests include primarily (as a doctoral student), Neonatal outcomes related to NICU admission. Furthermore, she is interested in exploring the impact of nurses’ and student nurses’ education in patient outcomes, as well as the overall impact of migration in healthcare.


Elsa is a personal tutor to Assistant Practitioners Foundation Degree in Cambridge. She also supports teaching across all 3 years of the BSc in Adult and Child Nursing, both in theory and skills sessions. As a Safe Medicate tutor for Cambridgeshire, Elsa helps students with the safe calculations and handling of medicines that is required to become registered with the NMC upon completion of the nursing degree.


  • BSc (Hons) in Nursing (Escola Superior de Enfermagem Calouste Gulbenkian – ESEL, Lisbon, Portugal) - 2005
  • PgDip Tropical Nursing (Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal) - 2006
  • MSc Global Health (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland - 2009
  • PgDip High Dependency and Intensive Care of the Newborn, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, UK - 2016
  • PhD in Health Sciences [ongoing] Ghent University, School of Health Sciences, Ghent, Belgium

Memberships, editorial boards


Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Module lead/ Invited lecturer for Universitat Internacional de Catalunya – Nursing Abroad module.
  • Scientific Committee member for AppIC – an app for Intensive Care Nurses endorsed by the ESICM and ESPNIC.
  • Expert team member – C-19 Space for nurses (C19_Space programme (esicm.org)

Selected recent publications

Afonso E, Conoscenti E, Blot S. 2020. Combination antimicrobial therapy in Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteremia. European Journal of Paediatrics [e-journal]. 179(12), pp. 1997-1998. doi: 10.1007/s00431-020-03748-8.

Labeau SO, Afonso E, Benbenishty J, Blackwood B, Boulanger C, Brett SJ, Calvino-Gunther S, Chaboyer W, Coyer F, Deschepper M, François G, Honore PM, Jankovic R, Khanna AK, Llaurado-Serra M, Lin F, Rose L, Rubulotta F, Saager L, Williams G, Blot SI; DecubICUs Study Team; European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) Trials Group Collaborators. Prevalence, associated factors and outcomes of pressure injuries in adult intensive care unit patients: the DecubICUs study. 2020. Intensive Care Medicine [online]. 47(2). Pp. 160-169. doi: 10.1007/s00134-020-06234-9.

Webbe JWH, Duffy JMN, Afonso E, Al-Muzaffar I, Brunton G, Greenough A, Hall NJ, Knight M, Latour JM, Lee-Davey C, Marlow N, Noakes L, Nycyk J, Richard-Löndt A, Wills-Eve B, Modi N, Gale C. 2020. Core outcomes in neonatology: development of a core outcome set for neonatal research. Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition [e-journal]. 105(4). Pp. 425-431. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-317501.

Davis, S., & Afonso, E. 2020. Peripherally inserted central catheters: More than location, location, location?. Intensive & critical care nursing [online]60, p.102887. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iccn.2020.102887

Afonso E., Blot S. 2019. Late onset sepsis in NICU - are we are all looking through the same lens? Infectious Diseases (Lond) [e-journal].. 51(8). Pp. 625-626. doi: 10.1080/23744235.2018.1546898.

Afonso E, Lizy C, Blot S. 2017. Bridging the knowledge-practice gap: a key issue in the prevention of healthcare-associated infections. Contemporary Nurse [e-journal].. 53(6):713-715. doi: 10.1080/10376178.2017.1416307.

Afonso E., Blot S. 2017. Effect of gestational age on the epidemiology of late-onset sepsis in neonatal intensive care units - a review. Expert Review in Anti-Infective Therapy. [e-journal].  2017 Oct;15(10). Pp. 917-924. doi: 10.1080/14787210.2017.1379394.

Lizy C, Afonso E, Blot S. 2017. Bacteriuria and Risk Factors for Bacteremia. American Journal of Critical Care. [online] 26(4). P. 268. doi: 10.4037/ajcc2017736.

Afonso E, Blot K, Blot S. 2016. Prevention of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections through chlorhexidine gluconate-impregnated washcloth bathing in intensive care units: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised crossover trials. Euro Surveillance [online]. 2016 Nov 17;21(46). Pp. 30400. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.46.30400.

Afonso E, Blot S. 2017. The value of direct observation to reduce catheter- associated urinary tract infection. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing [online]. 41. Pp. 1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2017.03.013.

Afonso E, Llauradó M, Gallart E. 2013. The value of chlorhexidine gluconate wipes and prepacked washcloths to prevent the spread of pathogens - a systematic review. Australian Critical Care. [online] 26(4):158-66. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2013.05.001.

Recent presentations and conferences

ESICM Lives 2021 – 7th October 2021: Poster presentation "Mortality Associated to Late-Onset sepsis in the NICU".

International Nurses’ Day event – 12th November 2021 – East of England Neonatal Network. “Neonatal Nurses Education Project in Botswana”.