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#CelebratingTogether: Professor Pam Smith

#CelebratingTogether: Professor Pam Smith

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Student-Led Teaching Awards are back to recognise outstanding members of learning and support staff. After a challenging year for everyone, we’re celebrating our worthy nominees by shouting about their successes across our digital platforms. 


Pam Smith
Professor Pam Smith

What is your full name? 

Pamela Ann Smith 

What is your job title? 

Professorial Fellow, Nursing Studies 

What school or service do you work in? 

School of Health in Social Science 


Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role. 

I came to the University of Edinburgh in 2009 as Professor of Nurse Education from the University of Surrey. I was Head of Nursing Studies (2010-2013) and I am now a Professorial Fellow.  I featured in the University’s Inspiring Women Photographic Exhibition, to celebrate International Women’s Day, 2014. I am an experienced nurse, teacher and researcher in Britain and overseas. I currently teach and research the emotional labour of nursing and healthcare and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students. I love facilitating students to think critically about their research in their own words while appreciating the benefits of academic rigour. I have supervised over thirty doctoral students, eight in Edinburgh, from nine countries, three continents and in four universities. I rejoice in passing on my craft to the next generation of scholars and practitioners who inspire me with their new ways of thinking about compassion, emotions and practice to change lives.   


What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year? 

This nomination means so much to me and I was thrilled and surprised to receive it. The nomination is a huge honour and recognition, for not only me, but also the intellectual progress of our discipline and the unique contribution made by our doctoral students and graduates towards a better understanding of nursing and healthcare. 


What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students? 

The favourite part of my role is giving students confidence to recognise they have unique experiences and knowledge and to help them ‘think outside the box’. I love those ‘eureka’ moments when they make a significant and original breakthrough in their research methodology and analysis.   


How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year? 

I have adapted my teaching and support through online teaching, supervision and keeping in close contact through regular email and mobile contact. I have already had experience of online supervision and teaching prior to the pandemic when students were undertaking field work in Thailand and Taiwan. They would take us into the field virtually via the internet and mobile phone networks. One key experience this year has been about understanding the student’s experience of collecting data through online platforms and the effects the ‘screen’ can have on collecting data on sensitive topics and with meeting participants for the first time. By raising this issue the student decided to practise ‘mindfulness’ before she went in to the ‘virtual field’. She found this strengthened her relationship with her participants and enriched the data. Another challenging aspect of the pandemic has been to identify the best way to support students who are frontline health professionals and therefore need to interrupt their studies. The challenge is to keep in touch with them without them feeling pressurised but with just enough support to enable them to return to their studies when they are ready.   


What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year? 

Lack of face-to-face contact with students at a time when they are facing additional personal and academic pressures because of the pandemic. Working in a pandemic is a new experience for us all with unprecedented challenges. Research mindedness helps manage the challenges and seek collective solutions to support the students and each other. 


What would you say to the student(s) who nominated you, or students who are considering submitting a nomination for a staff member who has had an impact on them? 

Thank you. It is my privilege to work with you and accompany you on your unique journey.  A nomination helps us to realise how we are seen by our students and what is important to them in the way we work together. It also helps us to understand and appreciate our impact on students and to learn for the future. 

To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website. 

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