AC6726 - Managing Pain and Symptoms in Advanced Disease

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will explore the needs of the patient with advanced disease and the impact of unmet symptom management on quality of life. This module will enable you to critically examine your practice when assessing and managing symptoms and will enable you to consider the holistic needs of the patient and their carers. You will be encouraged to reflect and explore personal experiences arising from your own clinical practice in order to explore ways of enhancing your professional practice. The module provides the opportunity for you to identify and examine the challenges of managing complex symptoms. You will investigate the holistic multi-disciplinary care necessary to facilitate high quality symptom management. A flexible learning approach is encouraged to assist in the development of specific knowledge relating to

Topics will include; common symptoms in advanced disease; the physiology of pain and pain theory; pain and symptom assessment tools; pharmacological and non-pharmacological symptom management; emergencies in palliative care; symptoms in the last days and hours of life; challenges for practice; patient perspective of living with fatigue.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a blended learning approach which will incorporate the use of the University’s interactive online eLearning Portal (eLP), lectures and discussions. Technology enabled learning will be enhanced through your interaction with the eLP which will give you the flexibility to access the module materials and aids remotely. The lectures will cover theories and concepts that will enable you to tackle a series of guided exercises. Many of the exercises will ensure you co-construct knowledge collaboratively with your module peers. You will be required to actively engage in research rich learning through an enquiry based approach to ensure authentic learning

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module leader who has extensive experience in specialist palliative care, maintains links with and works closely with specialist services in the region and nationally. You will be supported by the module team at the scheduled timetabled group sessions at university with formative feedback provided throughout the delivery and you will be encouraged to access individual tutorials for the summative assessment. Specialist lecturers and practitioners will deliver specific sessions and will also be available to support your learning. Further support is available in person at Student Central located in the University Library or through your student portal where you can contact Ask4Help 24/7 via 0191 2274646.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of a variety of symptoms and pain that cause distress in patients with advanced disease.

2. Critically evaluate the need for holistic assessment skills and the value and limitation of assessment tools and processes.

Intellectual / Professional Skills & Abilities:

3. Critically evaluate the evidence base for pharmacological and non- pharmacological management strategies utilised in managing symptoms.

4. Consider the quality of life dimension in relation to effective pain and symptom management in advanced disease.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. Develop the characteristics of a Northumbria student as you critically examine your own contribution to effective care delivery and multi-disciplinary teamwork.

How will I be assessed?

MLO’s 1-5 will be addressed formatively and summatively.

Formative assessment will take place in the form of student led seminars, this will enable the student to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes and the synthesis of theory and practice. Completion of the exercises will demonstrate the ability to:

• Research and critically articulate differing types of evidence; discussing with peers and teachers the relevance of the evidence.

• Work collaboratively within a learning community; presenting information to module peers in a variety of formats.

The student will be encouraged to seek formative feedback from both module tutors and peers before the summative assessment date which presents them with the opportunity to improve their evidence of learning through reflection and constructive feedback.

Summative assessment

The summative assessment for this module will enable the practitioner, irrespective of their area of practice, to examine and discuss holistic assessment and management of a chosen symptom and critically evaluate the intervention(s) and support provided for a person and their family. The essay will demonstrate the achievement of the module learning outcomes it is expected that whilst the essay is situated in practice the need for anonymity and confidentiality will be respected This will be achieved by digital submission of a 3000 word essay via Turnitin.

Feedback will be given electronically via Turnitin and will include development advice for future academic work (MLO 1-5).


“ To undertake this module you must hold a valid current professional registration” (i.e.: NMC / GMC / HCPC)



Module abstract

This module is focussed on managing pain and symptoms in patients who have advanced disease. Students will be encouraged to consider the many components that contribute to high quality care delivery including evidence based assessment and management of symptoms.
This module will enable the practitioner to critically examine their practice when caring for patients and will consider the holistic needs of the patient and their carers. Participants will be encouraged to reflect and explore personal experiences arising from their own clinical practice in order to consider enhancing their professional practice.

The philosophy underpinning this module is that accurate assessment is the key to managing pain and symptoms in advanced disease and that effective relief is the essence of quality of life. This module will enable students to develop advanced skills and knowledge related to evidence based assessment and management of complex pain and symptoms.

A flexible learning approach is adopted to assist in the development of specific knowledge relating to the management of symptoms in advanced disease.

The assessment is based on your knowledge and understanding of symptom management contextualised for your professional practice in the form of a 3000 word essay, which will enable you to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years part-time

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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