SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3B726199
Module Leader Steven Morrison
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Nursing
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is to develop knowledge and skills to enable Registered Healthcare Professionals to independently conduct a structured physical clinical assessment which can be applied in acute and primary care. This module will entail study of topics and development of skills associated with holistic assessment, consultation skills, clinical decision making, and evidence based practice. Consequently, this integrated theory and practice based module aims to promote the development of the safe and effective practice whether working within an acute or primary care setting. At the end of the module the student will be able to take a detailed clinical diagnostic health history and perform a full (head to toe) physical assessment (including -Inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation). They will be able to document and communicate their findings using correct terminology, and where necessary understand when to refer-on patients. Additionally, they will be able to recognise the implications of their findings on clinical management with an understanding of the clinical decision making theory and models which have influenced their decisions and practice. This should prepare them to practice patient care within defined evidence based protocols, without necessarily continually referring to a doctors.


Diagnostic History taking and consultation skills Physical examination techniques. Examination of skin, hair, nails, face, neck, ear, nose and throat. Examination cardiovascular examination. Examination of the respiratory system. Examination of the abdomen. Neurological assessment. Introduction to musculoskeletal assessment. Recognition of a range of mental health presentations, and referral pathways. Normal anatomy and common pathophysiology related to the major systems. Theories and models of clinical decision making. Management and treatment options for a range of acute and primary care presentations. Normal anatomy and common pathophysiology related to the major systems. Management and treatment options for a range of acute and primary care presentations through scenarios and online. materials (minor and acute undiagnosed illness). Referral roues using a number of modalities - paper, electronic.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:1. Analyse techniques designed to elicit a comprehensive diagnostic physical and psychological clinical history via a range of consultation skills and models.2. Review and analyse clinical decision making models and theory and their influence on clinical practice.3. Demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills including the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation and movement associated with a complete physical examination of body systems.4. Differentiate and explore normal from abnormal findings for a wide range of acute and primary care clinical presentations.5. Apply knowledge of disordered physiology and patient assessment, in order to select and implement appropriate strategies to provide initial management and appropriate referral of acute secondary and primary care presentations. 6. Integrate knowledge gained through the module and from reflection on practice experience, to apply effective evidenced based care and management.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module uses a blended approach with a range of learning strategies including; tutorials, practical workshops interactive discussions, directed and self-directed study, all of which will be utilised depending on where the 'blended' delivery is taking place. There is also a requirement for supervised practice in the clinical area with a suitable supervisor/assessor - students are guided that this will normally equate to approximately 4 - 7 hours per week. Normally, the student will obtain the equivalent of 36 hours of contact time with the module team, excluding individual academic support. The fundamental aim of the teaching and learning strategies, irrespective of delivery mode, is to support the development of autonomous, independent problem solving and decision making within the parameters of their professional competence, role and employers agreed vicarious liability (or equivalent). This aligns with the GCU common good attributes and the development of responsible leadership, fostering confidence in those who undertake this module to equip them to make a positive difference to the communities they will serve.

Indicative Reading

BICKLEY, L.S., 2018. Bates' Guide to physical examination and history taking. 12th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins BROWN, E. M., 2009. Heart sounds made easy. 3 rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. DAINS, J.E., CIOFU BAUMANN, L., and SCHEIBEL, P., 2011. Advanced health assessment & clinical diagnosis in primary care. St Louis: Mosby. DOUGLAS, G., NICOL, F., and ROBERTSON, C., eds. 2018. MacLeod's Clinical Examination. 14th ed. China: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier JAPP, A.G, and ROBERTSON, C., eds. 2018. MacLeod's Clinical Diagnosis. 2 nd ed. China: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. RITCHIE, L., 2015. Pulling together: transforming urgent care for the people of Scotland. The Report of the Independent Review of Primary Care Out of Hours Services. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT., 2015. Setting the Direction for Nursing and Midwifery Education: Delivery Plan 2015-16. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. SCOTTISH AMBULANCE SERVICE., 2015. Towards 2020: Taking Care to the Patient. Edinburgh: SAS. SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT., 2018. -8 Transforming nursing, midwifery and health professions roles: education and career development. [online]. The Scottish Government. [viewed 10/9/19]. Available from: THOMPSON, C., and DOWDING, D., 2009. Essential decision making and clinical judgement for nurses. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. WALKER, S., CARPENTER, D., and MIDDLEWICK, Y., 2013. Assessment and Decision Making in Mental Health Nursing. Southampton: Learning Matters-Sage.

Transferrable Skills

Development, or enhancement, of; -360b7 Independent learning skills b7 Critical thinking and decision making skills b7 Study, IT and time management skills b7 Professional and ethical values aligned with professional practice b7 Communication and team working b7 Theory and practice integration and problem solving b7 Reflection

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Practicals (FT) 12.00
Tutorials (FT) 20.00
Independent Learning (FT) 128.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Case Study/Log n/a 70.00 40% Case Study/Log (2000 words)Exceptions case 148Exceptions case submitted and outcome pending regarding minimum threshold and module pass mark
OSCE n/a 30.00 40% OSCE (Pass/Fail) 70% pass mark normalised to 40%Exceptions case 148Exceptions case submitted and outcome pending regarding minimum threshold and module pass markEXCEPTIONS CASES 187 AND 188 APPROVED NOV 2019