Dr Caroline Phelan


College of Nursing and Health Sciences

place Flinders Medical Centre (4W330)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Dr Caroline Phelan is a Lecturer in Ageing and Palliative Care. After completing her undergraduate Nursing degree at the University of Canberra, Caroline spent much of her early nursing career in critical care areas. She completed her Master of Public Health at the University of New South Wales and has held education and management roles in nursing. She completed her PhD at the University of Newcastle which focused on decision making and older people in pain management. Her research focus is on clinical decision making, decision making in older age, pain management and critical theory.

She has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including intensive care, adult and paediatric hospitals, community and outpatient clinics. She most recently focused on pain management. She has been active in interdisciplinary research with health practitioners and scientists across medicine, nursing and allied health disciplines. 

She is a member of the Flinders Research Centre for Palliative Care Death & Dying, and her research interests include novel approaches to advanced symptom management, decision making of clinicians and the experience of people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

As a balanced academic Caroline's research activities are supported by her teaching commitments in the postgraduate palliative care courses and a number of other programs. She lectures in and coordinates a number of topics and supports the College by teaching into a variety of topics across the postgraduate courses. She is an active HDR supervisor and is the course coordinator for Postgraduate Palliative Care courses.


PhD (Nursing) University of Newcastle

Master of Public Health UNSW

Bachelor of Nursing UC

Honours, awards and grants

End Of Life Essentials. Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government.

Voluntary Assisted Dying Mandatory Medical Education. SA Health.

Feasibility study for a novel approach to the delivery of breakthrough analgesics in palliative care. Phelan, C., Briffa, M., Swetenham, K. & Walker, H.The Hospital Research Foundation.

Key responsibilities

Course Coordinator postgraduate Palliative Care Courses.

ECR Representative, Management Committee, Flinders Research Centre for Palliative Care Death and Dying.

ECR Representative, College Research Quality and Capacity Development Committee, CNHS.

Member, Research, Innovation and Clinical Excellence Committee, Division of Rehabilitation, Aged and Palliative Care, SAHLN.

Topic coordinator
PALL8437 Clinical Management A
PALL8438 Clinical Management B
PALL9001 End of Life Care in Acute Settings
PALL8432 Introduction to the Study of Palliative Care
Supervisory interests
Acute care
Clinical trials
Critical Theory
Healthcare for older people
Judgement and decision making
Palliative care
Public health
Qualitative research methodology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Palliative Care (1)
Associate supervisor: Medicine and Public Health (1)