Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Advanced Clinical Assessment and Decision Making

Module titleAdvanced Clinical Assessment and Decision Making
Module codeHPDM133DA
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Rob Daniels (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

* Please see note below

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

*Please note that Degree Apprenticeship programmes have variable start dates and modules are taught across the full year.

Advanced clinical practice embodies the ability to holistically manage complex clinical care utilising a biopsychosocial approach. It is therefore imperative that Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) are equipped with knowledge and understanding of pathophysiological processes, advanced patient assessment techniques and complex decision-making theory to support the analysis and synthesis of complex problems and thus enable innovative solutions.


This module therefore aims to prepare you to extend your scope of practice through enhancing your core knowledge and understanding of complex history taking, systems-based physical assessment, diagnostics and decision-making. Using an interactive, multidisciplinary and engaging approach, this module will empower you to work effectively and collaboratively in dynamic clinical environments.  


Using a blended learning strategy to include face-to-face workshops, lectures and simulation-based learning sessions alongside a playful and engaging virtual learning environment, you will attend to the 4 pillars of advanced clinical practice through:

  • Enhancement of your knowledge and expertise surrounding clinical history taking and assessment skills, invasive and non-invasive diagnostic procedures and management strategies.
  • Critical assessment of your learning needs, engaging in directed and self-directed study whilst fostering a community of multidisciplinary educational practice.
  • Promoting leadership and management through active engagement in role modelling biopsychosocial, patient-centred practice, engaging in peer-review processes and tackling current challenges in today’s healthcare system.
  • Actively analysing and appraising the current research evidence-base to utilise in their advancing practice whilst identifying gaps in research.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will support you in the development of advanced communication, history taking, physical assessment and diagnostic decision-making skills essential to advance practice within a biopsychosocial model and you will be able to tailor these skills to your own area of clinical practice. This area of personal and professional development acts as an essential foundation for any clinician wishing to develop into an advanced level of clinical practice. The module will continue to be responsive to core capabilities frameworks aligned to the advance practice agenda for the various clinical professions, ensuring links to employability within their roles.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Form a critical understanding of the biopsychosocial aspects of disease, including key pathophysiological processes, and utilise this knowledge to underpin your assessment and management of patients.
  • 2. Demonstrate a range of knowledge and critical thinking in your understanding of key decision-making principles and theory, outlining how this underpins your assessment and management of patients.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Analyse and appraise the relevant evidence-base and apply this alongside your clinical experience to form a practical approach to the application and educational dissemination of research in advanced practice.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Develop your personal and professional ability to act as a role model through the cultivation and dissemination of experience and evidence-based knowledge and skills applicable to advanced practice.
  • 5. Foster leadership and initiative through enhanced understanding of human factors and decision-making theory within the multi-disciplinary setting.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

• A thorough overview of history taking physical examination techniques for all the body systems and their utility in advanced practice
• Focus on the appropriate use of clinical diagnostics
• An overview of the biopsychosocial aspects of care
• Attention to common illness and injury presentations and their assessment/management tailoring this to your clinical practice
• Focus surrounding underlying pathophysiology including relevant pharmacologic discussion
• Solidifying this knowledge and understanding through partaking in clinical practice under the supervision of your mentor.
• Reviewing evidence and experience-based practices
• Cultivating a community of practice within your student group and encouraging dissemination to the wider healthcare system
• Understanding application of the taught content to the 4 pillars of advanced practice
To accommodate potential teaching restrictions:

Face-to-face scheduled lectures may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos for each topic and/or brief overview lectures delivered via MS Teams/Zoom, with learning consolidated by self-directed learning resources and ELE activities.
Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars may be replaced by synchronous group discussion on Teams/ Zoom; or asynchronous online discussion.
Workshops involving face-to-face classroom teaching may be replaced by synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom; or Asynchronous workshop activities supported with discussion forum.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities42lectures, workshops and group-based learning
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities40Engaging with online learning resources, E-Learning
Scheduled learning and teaching activities46Shadowing of other healthcare specialists
Guided independent study32Independent study. Reading, case studies, professional practise forums. Preparing for assessments
This module is delivered as part of an integrated degree apprenticeship programme. The total required study hours for the programme have been designed in accordance with the ESFA regulations.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practice OSCE - online1 hour1-2Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio-based assessment (this assessment is pass/fail only and must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)0A portfolio demonstrating competency in assessing and making management plans for presentations of each of the body systems1-5Written
OSCE5090-minute OSCE assessing competency in the physical assessment and management of system-based patient presentations1-2Written
Poster and presentation50A poster of publication quality relating to clinical assessment and decision making with presentation in a digital media format 3, 4 -5Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio-based assessment (0%); A portfolio demonstrating competency in assessing and making management plans for presentations of each of the body systemsPortfolio-based assessment1-5Within 6 weeks of mark release
OSCE (50%); 90-minute OSCE assessing competency in the physical assessment and management of system-based patient presentationsOSCE1-2Within 6 weeks of mark release
Poster and presentation (50%); A poster of publication quality relating to clinical assessment and decision making with presentation in a digital media formatPoster and presentation 3, 4 -5Within 6 weeks of mark release

Re-assessment notes

All items of assessment must be passed in order to pass the module. In the event of you failing any of the assessments, the module will be capped at 49 until the assessment is passed.


Portfolio - if you fail to complete enough competencies to pass the portfolio component you will be required to submit any outstanding areas within eight weeks of the original submission date


Re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within a specified time period from the date that feedback was provided. 


If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.


If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%. 


If you fail re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), you will be failed in the module. 


All assessments are required to be passed for successful completion of the whole module.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Textbook based resources


  • Macleod's Clinical Examination: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 13e Paperback – 21 Jun 2013 by Graham Douglas BSc(Hons) MBChB FRCP(Ed) (Author)



  • Hopcroft & Forte (2020). Symptom sorter, 6th Ed. London, Radcliffe.


  • Clinical Skills by T.A. Roper – 2nd Edition


  • Cooper, N. & Frain, J (2017) ABC of Clinical Reasoning. West Sussex, John Wiley & Sons


  • Trenoweth, S & Moone, N (2017) Psychosocial assessment in Mental Health. London, Sage

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Virtual Learning Resources:

The Exeter Online Learning Environment (ELE) – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages



Web based and electronic resources:


There are numerous Free Online Access to Medical Education (FOAMEd) resources. Whilst many of these resources may not be peer reviewed, there are some that have excellent peer review and are making their way into mainstream education. Examples include:

GP notebook:


Geeky Medics -


East Midlands Emergency Medicine Educational Media -

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Other e-Resources


Kumar & Clark's clinical medicine [electronic resource] / edited by Parveen Kumar, Michael Clark


Oxford handbook of clinical examination and practical skills / edited by James Thomas and Tanya Monaghan


NICE Core Knowledge Summaries


British National formulary -


Acute GP -

Key words search

Advanced practice, clinical assessment, physical examination, diagnostics, research, clinical skills, multidisciplinary 

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date