Alumni Services

Professor Pam Smith

This month the spotlight falls on Professorial Fellow and former Head of Nursing Studies in the School of Health in Social Science Professor Pam Smith.

Pam Smith

One of the first graduates of the University of Manchester’s Bachelor of Nursing Programme, which prepared her for clinical roles in hospital and community nursing, Pam Smith has worked as a nurse and teacher in Tanzania, Mozambique and Britain and a nurse researcher in Britain and the USA.

She was awarded a Florence Nightingale Travel Scholarship and Fulbright Fellowship to study US nursing and healthcare. She obtained her PhD from King's College (1988), her MSc in Medical Sociology from Bedford College (1982) and a postgraduate certificate in adult education from Garnet College (1973), London University.

Before Edinburgh

Prior to coming to Edinburgh in 2009, Pam was the General Nursing Council Trust Endowed Chair of Nurse Education at the University of Surrey and Director of the Centre for Research in Nursing and Midwifery Education. During her time at the Centre she led on a number of research projects including: Equal opportunities for internationally recruited nurses; Changes in nursing leadership roles and student nurse learning; The impact of governance and incentives on primary care for people with complex long term conditions; Patient safety in health care professional education; Living to be a hundred in the UK: ‘It’s Just Luck’.

As for the role that excited her professionally and laid the foundations for her career and research interests, that was as Director of Nursing Research and Development in Bloomsbury Health Authority London in a ‘pre-market’ NHS in the late 1980s. During this time she set up strong research links between education, research and practice.

Emotional labour

The research that Pam is most associated with relates to emotions and care within the nursing profession. This began with her PhD thesis in the 1980s, which was awarded a 3Ms nursing research award, and was explored in two subsequent publications: The Emotional Labour of Nursing: How nurses care (1992: Palgrave Macmillan) and The Emotional Labour of Nursing Revisited: Can nurses still care? (2012: Palgrave Macmillan).

Pam is committed to translating the research on emotional labour into evidence based practice through doctoral supervision, teaching and clinically based research. 

From Edinburgh to Malawi

Kamuzu College of Nursing, Malawi Faculty with Pam Smith, June 2015
Kamuzu College of Nursing, Malawi Faculty with Pam Smith, June 2015.

Pam Smith was appointed Professorial Fellow in Nursing Studies, the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh in November 2012. Her appointment followed a period of secondment (2009-2012) as Professor of Nurse Education from the University of Surrey.

From August 2010 to December 2013, Pam was Head of Nursing Studies.

Since coming to Edinburgh, Pam has completed research on: Storytelling with a Leverhulme Writer in Residence; Nursing at the Extremes in Intensive Care Settings; Transitions experienced by professionals and parents of children with cancer and Transforming maternal and child health education of clinical professionals in Malawi.

Alongside teaching, she is currently completing research on: New Norms and Forms of Development: Brokerage in Maternal and Child Health Service Development and Delivery in Nepal and Malawi and Experiences of home ventilation for patients living with neuromuscular degenerative conditions and their family members.

Professor Pam Smith was awarded an MBE for services to nursing and nurse education in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Nursing celebrations

In 2016, Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh celebrates 60 years, making us the UK’s longest standing university nursing department. Find out more about 60th anniversary celebrations by visiting the Nursing Studies website. Events include the Elsie Stephenson memorial lecture and Leaps in the Dark alumni conference in November 2016.

Being in Edinburgh has been a wonderful opportunity to return to my nursing roots. I am particularly thrilled to be a member of the organising committee of the 'Leaps in the Dark' conference celebrating 60 years of graduate nursing in Edinburgh. This is a double celebration for me as it will be 50 years in September since I began nursing at the University of Manchester. So coming to Edinburgh has given me so many opportunities to build on my experience while 'passing it on' to future generations of nurses.

Professor Pam Smith

Celebrating 60 years

Related links

School of Health in Social Science

Nursing Studies

E-learning in Malawi