Dr Amelia Swift PhD, RGN, MSc, PGCE (HE)




Contact details

52 Pritchatts Road
School of Health and Population Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Amelia studied nursing at Charles Frear’s School of Nursing in Leicester before taking up posts in Leicester, Liverpool and Birmingham in Acute Surgery, Intensive Care and Chronic Pain Management.  Her special interest is in pain management and Amelia enjoys teaching pain physiology and management to students from different health disciplines as well as conducting research into this topic.  Amelia’s PhD was titled ‘A clinical study exploring hip and knee osteoarthritis pain transmission using cerebrospinal fluid’.  She writes regularly for the Nursing Times about pain management.  She also has a particular interest in e-learning and Amelia has introduced online drug management teaching and assessment, the use of physiological data capture experiments into the nursing curriculum and promotes the use of social media to facilitate nurse learning.   In 2012 Amelia was a Finalist in the Student Nursing Times Lecturer of the Year Award.


  • PhD (Birmingham) 2012
  • PGCE (HE) 2001
  • MSc. Health Sciences 1999
  • ENB 100 Intensive Care Nursing 1995
  • ENB 998 Teaching and Assessing Nurses 1995
  • Registered General Nursing 1989


Amelia qualified as a nurse from Charles Frear School of Nursing in Leicester in 1989. She consolidated this training for 18 months working in vascular and GI surgery at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. In 1991 Amelia moved to Liverpool to work at the Cardiothoracic Centre on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and became interested in the difficulties in assessment and management of pain in the critically ill patient. In 1992 Amelia moved to Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital and worked in the general and cardiac surgical intensive care units. Amelia’s interest in pain management continued to develop leading to her appointment as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in chronic pain management at the QEH and Selly Oak hospitals in 1995.

Amelia’s clinical experience in chronic pain management enabled her to develop innovative ways of supporting people with chronic pain including the introduction of a telephone follow up service and the establishment of a patient support group as well as being part of the team that moved Pain Management Group activities away from the hospital and into the community for the first time.

After a two year spell as a lecturer at Coventry University Amelia began her part time PhD studies at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham. During this time Amelia was a member of the East Midlands Local Research Ethics Committee and developed a number of research projects exploring the clinical use of pain measurement tools and the quality of pain in Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Amelia’s research into osteoarthritis is unique because it uses techniques more common to basic laboratory science but in human participants. Amelia uses her passion for education and pain research to drive forward improvements in pain education and to this end is a member of the Pain Education Special Interest Group of the British Pain Society and the International Association for the Study of Pain.


Teaching Programmes


Pain, osteoarthritis, pain education, pain and nurse specialists.  


Osteoarthritis pain
Amelia’s main pain interest is the pain of osteoarthritis.  Her PhD thesis describes the completed study of cerebrospinal fluid in people with OA with the aim of identifying unique biomarkers of this type of pain that will illuminate the transmission of this type of pain and help to improve its treatment.

Pain measurement
Amelia is interested in the use of pain assessment in the clinical area, particularly the use of pain rating scales and has explored the understanding of these tools in different professional groups and patients.

Pain Education
Amelia is a member of the Pain Education Special Interest Groups of the British Pain Society and the International Association for the Study of Pain.  In this capacity Amelia has taken part in the a national study exploring current pain curricula in HE.

Nurse specialists and pain
Amelia has explored the way that nurse specialists work and their educational preparation for their role.


  • Swift, A. 2011. A patient has osteoarthritis of the knees but cannot take NSAIDs.  How can I provide pain relief. Nursing Times, 107, (14) 25 available from: http://bit.ly/jfuCk5 Accessed 29 April 2011.
  • Swift, A. 2012a. "Never accept that pain is a normal part of growing old". Nursing Times, 107, (19-20) 11-30
  • Swift, A. 2012b. Opioids in palliative care: the NICE guidance. Nursing Times, 108, (45) 16-19
  • Swift, A. 2012c. Osteoarthritis 1: Physiology, risk factors and causes of pain. Nurs.Times, 108, (7) 12-15 available from: PM:22479933
  • Swift, A. 2012d. Osteoarthritis 2: pain management and treatment strategies. Nurs.Times, 108, (8) 25-27 available from: PM:22458083
  • Swift, A. Osteoarthritis 3: Impact on patients. http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-specialisms/rheumatology/osteoarthritis-3-impact-on-patients/5042032.article . 2012e. Ref Type: Electronic Citation
  • Williamson-Swift (2011) “Pharmacological management of pain in the older adult” In Hindle A, Coates A (eds) Nursing Care of Older People Oxford, Oxford University Press. 
  • Williamson-Swift A (2008) Education and training of pain nurse specialists Pain News Autumn: 24-26
  • Williamson-Swift A (2007) Education and training of pain nurse specialists in the United Kingdom Acute Pain 9: 207-213
  • Williamson A, Hoggart B (2005) Pain: a review of three commonly used pain rating scales Journal of Clinical Nursing 14: 798-804

Back to top