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Using Laboratory Investigations in Advanced Clinical Decision Making - HEA00105M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Victoria Lack
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module will facilitate knowledge and understanding of routine laboratory tests, when to order them for patients and how to interpret the results with reference to the individual patient.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

The aim of this module is to extend existing understanding and knowledge of the purpose and limitations of laboratory tests. Students will develop an understanding of the commonly used laboratory investigations in order to decide when (and when not to) order laboratory tests for patients and be able to understand the results and implications for the patient. Students will explore how to integrate test results into the plan of care, including an understanding of the ethical and social implications of ordering tests and how to communicate test results to patients.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able, using evidence based practice:

  1. To appreciate the rationale for, and limitations of the use of laboratory investigations in clinical practice.
  2. To increase knowledge of commonly used laboratory tests, and how to interpret the results in the context of individual patients.
  3. To use knowledge gained through patient assessment in order to decide whether and which investigations should be ordered.
  4. To synthesize information gained from lab investigations and plan care accordingly.
  5. To consider the ethical and social implications that performing laboratory tests has on an individual, and be able to discuss these implications and the results with the patient.

Module content

  • Introduction; why and when to test/use of screening tests/ interpreting results in context/discussing results with patients/sensitivity/specificity/limitations of tests
  • Near patient testing (urinalysis/D dimers/CRP/new developments)
  • Genetic tests
  • Haematological tests
  • Biochemistry
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Virology/Microbiology


Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Using Laboratory Investigation
2 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative case studies as above will be in the same format as the summative exam. The summative assessment will be a 2 hour exam comprising of case studies requiring short answers which will test students' ability to interpret clinical information,their clinical decision making skills and communication. The pass mark will be 50%.


Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Using Laboratory Investigation
2 hours 100

Module feedback

Clinical scenarios related to laboratory investigations will be made available to students each week to assess understanding of the session. Resolutions to scenarios will be available the following week with opportunity for classroom discussion.

Indicative reading

  • Blann, A. D.,(2013). Routine blood results explained [electronic resource]. Keswick, Cumbria : M&K Publishing
  • Blann, A. D. Nessar, A., (2014). Blood science; Principles and pathology. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.
  • McGhee, M.F. (2014) A guide to laboratory investigations. (6th ed) London: CRC/Taylor.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students