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Patient Assessment & Clinical Decision Making - HEA00108M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Victoria Lack
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module summary

This module will teach students the clinical skills required to develop competence in history taking and physical assessment as required by an advanced clinical practitioner. It will enable students to develop skills in clinical decision making, differential diagnosis and care planning.

Professional requirements

Students need to be currently registered with their professional body (NMC/HPC/GPhC) and have at least 3 years relevant experience in clinical practice.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19 to Summer Term 2018-19

Module aims

This module aims to enable students to take a holistic health history from a patient/carer and to develop skills in assessing a patient's physical and mental health and cognitive ability.
Students will develop physical examination skills across the body systems, and be able to adapt these to the age of the patient, the setting, and individual needs and preferences of the patient. Students will then develop the art and science of clinical decision making and care planning.


Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able, using a holistic and patient centred approach, to:

  1. Be skilled in taking an accurate, comprehensive and focused history, including mental health and mental status assessment.
  2. Demonstrate competence in performing a comprehensive physical examination.
  3. Have an overview of changes across the lifespan in the approach to the examination and expected findings.
  4. Synthesise information acquired through history taking and physical assessment in order to form differential diagnoses for the individual patient.
  5. Evaluate the presenting patient and likely diagnoses in order to plan evidenced based care in collaboration with the patient and colleagues as required and/or refer for further assessment/tests/treatment as appropriate.
  6. Identify warning signs (red flags) in the individual patient and manage/refer as appropriate.
  7. Accurately document subjective and objective data from the patient and be able to communicate these appropriately, in writing and verbally, with other members of the clinical team.



Module content

  • History taking and consultation skills, including for different age groups/people with difficulties with communication/ in different settings.
  • Physical assessment of body systems (ENT/Head and neck/respiratory/cardiovascular system/abdominal examination/male and female reproductive system/urinary system/nervous system/musculoskeletal system/skin)
  • Mental health and mental status assessment.
  • Assessment of the sick child/elderly person.
  • Assessment of the acutely ill patient.
  • Assessment/diagnosis and treatment of specific signs and symptoms and diseases.
  • Developing patient centred care and the promotion of self management and collaborative care.



Task Length % of module mark
Objective Structured Clinical Examination - HS Dpt
3.5 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The summative OSCE will comprise 5-8 stations each lasting 10 to 20 minutes. Students must achieve 75% of the criteria being examined to pass the station. Unsafe practice will receive an automatic fail. Students must pass each station to pass the module, which will be marked as Pass/Fail.

In the event of a student failing a station, they will only have to retake that station.


Task Length % of module mark
Objective Structured Clinical Examination - HS Dpt
3.5 hours 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback through:

  • ongoing formative case study assignments made available to students and discussed in class.
  • feedback from facilitators during practical sessions on history taking and physical examination skills
  • a formative OSCE of 3 stations, delivered in the same format as the summative OSCE, with feedback given prior to the summative OSCE.

Students will also be expected to be able to discuss their advanced clinical practice portfolio they have been working on in clinical practice, demonstrating they are completing the requisite number of hours and are 'on track' towards achieving competency as an ACP.


Indicative reading

  • Kumar, P., & Clark, M. (Eds.). (2017.) Clinical medicine (9th Ed.). London: Elsevier
  • Bickley, L. S., (2012). Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking (11th Edition.). Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  • Rushforth, H., (2009). Assessment made incredibly easy! London : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  • Simon, C., Everitt,. Van Dorp, F. (2014). Oxford handbook of general practice. Oxford : Oxford University Press
  • Roper, T.A., (2014) Clinical Skills (2nd Edition.). Oxford:Oxford University Press 
  • Longmore M., Wilinson I., Baldwin A & Wallin E. Oxford handbook of clinical medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Blann, Andrew D., author. (2013). Routine blood results explained [electronic resource]. Keswick, Cumbria : M&K Publishing


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.

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