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Postgraduate Pain Science and Management

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  • Objectives
    Although based in the School of Health and Rehabilitation, this course draws on modules from across the Faculty of Health and the wider University encouraging interprofessional training. It is available full-time, part-time, or modules can be taken as independent stand alone programmes of study. The aim of this flexible modular course is to broaden the student’s knowledge and understanding in the field of pain science, plus encourage personal development. It is also about fostering greater insight into how different disciplines, through a programme of shared learning and teaching, can contribute to this aim. This course facilitates analysis, discussion and critical appraisal of scientific and clinical knowledge.
  • Entry requirements
    The course is open to therapists, (e.g. physiotherapists, occupational therapists), other allied health professionals and members of other related disciplines such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and psychologists. Applicants should normally have a first or second class honours degree (2.1 or 2.2) (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, or an equivalent professional qualification. In addition, applicants must have completed as least 12 months of professional work experience by 30 June prior to admission or be registered with the UK Professional Council or overseas equivalent. Registration with your Professional Council is strongly recommended; if this is not obtained then this will severely limit your choice of options since you will not be able to undertake practical clinical modules.
  • Academic Title
    MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate Pain Science and Management
  • Course description

    This course provides students with a sound understanding of the physiology and pharmacology of pain, the psychosocial aspects of pain, and the assessment of pain. It also provides a thorough understanding of research methodology.

    The School of Health & Rehabilitation is based on Keele campus and has a well-established undergraduate physiotherapy programme. It has strong connections both with local clinical units and with other Schools within the University such as the Schools of Nursing & Midwifery, Medicine, and Pharmacy. As well as the taught postgraduate programmes there are opportunities to study for MPhil and PhD degrees (full-time and part-time). The research foci of the School are linked to the evaluation of musculoskeletal therapy, chronic pain assessment, neurological rehabilitation and ethics of rehabilitation. The QAA Major Review of Healthcare in 2005 gave the most favourable judgements (for Keele’s Physiotherapy and Nursing and Midwifery Undergraduate Programmes) that a review team can make.

    Course Structure and Content

    The MSc programme comprises taught modules to the value of 120 M level credits and a dissertation of 60 M level credits, giving a total of 180 credits. Students may choose to finish their studies after completing 60 taught credits (Postgraduate Certificate) or 120 taught credits (Postgraduate Diploma), or they may study any module on a stand-alone basis and obtain the relevant credits. The full-time MSc programme is completed over 16 months, September to December. The part-time MSc programme can be completed in two years, but students may take up to five years if they wish. The structure of the course therefore allows flexible learning in accordance with individual student interests.

    The core modules meet the needs of individuals to review and evaluate the scientific background of their own specialism and to integrate this into their clinical practice. The option modules allow students to devise a programme to suit their own specific requirements in terms of professional and personal development. The research module and evidence-based practice module together with the dissertation develop the student’s research capabilities and critical evaluation skills.

    Course Modules

    The following indicate the range of modules that may be offered.

    Core Modules (each 15 credits, totalling 75 credits)

    • Research Methods
    • Evidence-Based Practice - this will be delivered entirely via distance-learning electronically from 2008
    • Physiology & Pharmacology of Pain
    • Psychosocial Aspects of Pain
    • Assessment of Pain

    Option Modules (credit value in brackets – 45 credits required for MSc and PgDip)

    Availability of options may be subject to change in any year and other modules may also be available. Examples are given below.

    Modules involving practical skills – UK Professional Council registration and third party insurance required

    • Introducing Acupuncture (15)
    • Advanced Manual Therapy (30)
    • Motor Control Retraining of Movement Dysfunction (30)
    • Musculoskeletal Management at the Interface (30)
    • Joint & Soft Tissue Injection (15)

    Modules involving practical skills not requiring third party insurance

    • Applied Clinical Anatomy 1(15)
    • Physiology (15)
    • Applied Clinical Anatomy 2 (15)
    • Mechanics of the Neuromusculoskeletal Tissue (15)
    • Applied Exercise Physiology for Healthcare Professionals (15)
    • Concepts of Neurological Rehabilitation (15)
    • Independent Study (15)
    • Electrotherapy and Physical Agents in Rehabilitation (15)
    • Management of Complex Musculoskeletal Patients using a Biopsychosocial Approach (30)
    • Dynamic Ultrasound Imaging (15)

    Candidates can also apply for assessment of prior learning (APL) exemptions against option modules or choose to take option modules from a range offered by other Schools in the University provided they are consistent with the aims of the programme and are approved by the Course Team.

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    A dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words on a topic related to the course. Dissertation workshops provide support for students.

    Teaching and Assessment

    Lecture sessions are led by a variety of experienced authorities in their field. Therefore, the student received a wide knowledge base from academics and practising experts. Teaching methods include: lead lectures, tutor and student led tutorials, problem solving scenarios, case study, presentations, small group work and the use of the VLE – discussion groups, conditional released tasks.

    The programme is assessed by a variety of techniques chosen to reflect the aims and objectives and teaching methods of individual modules, for example: critical review papers, essays, portfolios, presentations, interactive practical examinations, assessment in the field and use of the VLE - online assessments, and dissertation. The pass mark for all modules is 50%.

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