Understanding and Assessing Pain

This CPD module is for healthcare professionals who are looking to develop their practice and understanding of pain.

Apply now

Key facts

  • Module codeNURU152
  • Start date 22 Jan 2024
  • Application deadline8 Jan 2024
  • Duration11 weeks
  • Credit value SCQF 20
  • SCQF level Level 9
  • Fees Home: £662, International: £1213
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery online


This module is aimed at healthcare professionals who are looking to develop their practice.

Pain is something that we come into contact with every day of our working lives. This module will develop your understanding of the complexity of pain in a way that is useful in practice. It will raise awareness of pain problems and the attitudes which can contribute to these and it will enhance your ability to assess and examine pain phenomena.

Flexible learning

This short course forms part of the BSc Professional Practice. You can study other stand-alone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses from this degree:

If you’re interested in studying more than one module from this course, please email our Admissions team at postgraduate.admissions@stir.ac.uk to discuss your course of study.

Entrance requirements

The module is suitable for nurses, allied healthcare professionals and those with an interest in the provision of quality palliative care.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 56 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.


Find out more about fees and funding.


To enable you to:

  • Describe pain pathways
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the subjective nature of the pain experience
  • Explore the philosophical issues associated with pain perception and communication
  • Critically examine contemporary approaches to pain assessment.

Structure and content

This module is delivered online. The resources are extensive and a series of discussion boards provides opportunity for sharing of ideas, learning and feedback.

The module will start with an in-depth examination of the various theories of pain, which will extend your understanding of the social, psychological and physiological basis of acute and chronic pain.

The complex sequelae of pain, especially chronic pain will be discussed. This will draw on pain patients' reports, case studies and the empirical literature.

Discussions will allow the students to critically examine attitudes to pain in society and in healthcare settings, which are formed (or misinformed) by various theoretical positions.

Delivery and assessment

This is a fully online module that combines the use of:

  • Online learning through Canvas, our virtual learning environment
  • Asynchronous and synchronous lectures
  • Open and facilitated discussion fora
  • Independent directed study and open office hours

There is an opportunity to connect with and interact with fellow students from other health care sectors to explore the individual experience of pain.

Module coordinator

Mrs Agnieszka Burns


The learning from this module will enhance your evidence based knowledge and understanding to inform your practice and can be used as part of your academic and professional development.

What next?

Contact us

If you have any questions about entry requirements for our continuing professional development and short courses, contact our Admissions team.

For all other questions, please use our enquiry form.