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Unit outline_

PAIN5001: Introduction to Pain Management

Semester 1, 2023 [Online] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

To introduce participants to the problem of pain within a multidisciplinary team framework and to highlight the extent of the problem in the community. The unit provides an overview of historical and philosophical models of pain and its management methods over time. Current classifications of pain are examined and the interrelationship between various paradigms of health and illness are outlined. Participants also begin to consider the principles of research design and biostatistics, and explore professional and ethical issues.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Discipline of Pain Medicine
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Elizabeth Devonshire,
Tutor(s) Timothy Austin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task group assignment Structured Online Discussion Task
Online discussion participation and written summary.
15% Week 06
Due date: 02 Apr 2023 at 23:59
See unit guide
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Online task group assignment Critical Review Part A.
Online discussion and quizzes
10% Week 08
Due date: 23 Apr 2023 at 23:59
See unit guide
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Critical Review Part B.
Written report
20% Week 09
Due date: 30 Apr 2023 at 23:59
1000-1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6
Small continuous assessment group assignment Module discussions and reflections
Online discussion participation and written summaries.
5% Week 12
Due date: 21 May 2023 at 23:59
See unit guide
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Case Review
Written report
50% Week 13
Due date: 28 May 2023 at 23:59
3500-4000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Assignment 1a. Discussion task: The online discussion activity is conducted over four weeks, i.e. from Week 3 to Week 6 (inclusive). There are two tasks students must complete during this timeframe. In the first two weeks of the discussion, students are asked to consider and comment on definitions of pain. In the second two weeks of the discussion, they are asked to review and comment on an article about pain management as a basic human right. Students must contribute at least 2 messages per week and one of these messages should aim to open up a new thread of discussion (i.e. introduce a new topic related to the issues under discussion). The others must build on the contributions that other students have made.
  • Assignment 1b. Module discussions and reflections:  Participation in the module discussion forums will increase  knowledge of this topic area and assist students to complete the written assignments. At the end of every module, students will need to provide a brief written reflection on the two provided questions.
  • Assignment 2. Critical review: The purpose of this assignment is to provide students with an opportunity to critically review some selected articles to evaluate whether or not the research study that is reported is credible, meaningful and has application to practice. Quizzes, discussion tasks and a written report included. 
  • Assignment 3. Case review: The purpose of this assignment is to give students an opportunity to apply theory to practice in the form of a case review. Students need to read the case provided and then respond to the associated short answer questions. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found in Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Meets the unit requirements to an exceptional standard


75 - 84

Meets the unit requirements to a very high standard


65 - 74

Meets the unit requirements to a good standard


50 - 64

Meets the unit requirements to an acceptable standard


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Penalties for late submission will be applied in accordance with the University Assessment Procedures, 2011 (Clause 7A).

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week -01 Orientation Individual study (2 hr)  
Week 01 Online introduction Individual study (8 hr)  
Week 02 Module 1: History and concepts of pain Individual study (20 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 04 Module 2: Epidemiology of chronic pain Individual study (20 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 06 Module 3: Research design and biostatistics Individual study (20 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Module 4: Classification and assessment of pain Individual study (20 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 10 Module 5: Multidisciplinary team management Individual study (20 hr) LO1 LO2 LO7
Week 12 Module 6: Ethics Individual study (20 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Active participation in online discussion forums is a compulsory activity for completion of this unit of study. It is expected that students will contribute unique content and/or reflections on other students’ postings at least twice per week.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no prescribed textbook for this unit of study. All required readings are available online via Canvas and the University Library.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Discuss the historical developments of pain theory and practice
  • LO2. Discuss the broad scope of the problem of pain
  • LO3. Demonstrate appropriate use of valid and reliable tools for measuring pain and associated symptoms
  • LO4. Discuss key ethical issues in pain research and practice
  • LO5. Demonstrate basic understanding of how to evaluate current research practice in pain management
  • LO6. Demonstrate familiarity with common research design/approaches
  • LO7. Explain the role of a multidisciplinary team in patient self-management.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

I additional reading has been added to module 1 - History and concepts of pain

Study materials: All of the learning materials for this course can be accessed via Canvas. Students must successfully complete the Academic Honesty Module to gain access to these online materials.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.