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Short courses & CPD
Nursing & Health

Advanced Pathophysiology University Certificate in Postgraduate Continuing Education

Practitioners employed in advanced practice roles will enhance their competence in the clinical reasoning required for diagnostics and therapeutics with this module. The focus is on pathophysiological principles to support clinical assessment and differential diagnostic analysis.


12 weeks


Course overview

You examine disease processes at cellular, tissue, organ and multi-system levels. This will enhance your deeper understanding of disease processes, thus facilitating enhanced patient care. This is especially relevant due to changing population demographics of age and multiple co-morbid disease burden.

The award is relevant to the following modules:

  • Physical Assessment Skills
  • Advanced Physical Assessment and Disease Management Skills
  • Independent and Supplementary Prescribing

This module helps underpin clinical judgement for clinical skills and prescribing in providing the pathophysiological rationale for common signs and symptoms of disease and helping formulate differential diagnosis within the scope of advanced practice.

Safe and effective practitioner practice at this level demands a thorough understanding of common disease processes and the dynamics of treatment at cellular, organ and multisystem levels in order to deliver good patient centred care. Focus is on the common mechanisms by which cells, tissues and organs are injured and on the structural changes that underlie these disease processes. Strong emphasis is placed on the context in which they might appear in the realities of clinical practice. This award explores pathophysiology from an advanced practitioner perspective, offering the scientific knowledge and practical guidance a practitioner needs to refine diagnosis and make optimal treatment decisions for patients in any setting. Key mechanisms of disease are examined to advance your knowledge of pathophysiological principle alongside current scientific research in the context of the diagnostics and therapeutics.

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Course details

What you study

You explore the following concepts as they relate to advanced practitioner practice:

  • application of pathophysiological principle to minimise/avoid risk and reduce patient morbidity and mortality to improve patient outcomes
  • the role of the clinical method in establishing differential diagnosis, pathology and aetiology
  • homeostatic disturbance and disease trajectories in the acute and chronic spectrum of disease
  • pathophysiological principles applied to all body systems (cardiac, respiratory, renal, urinary, reproductive, haematological, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and skin)
  • cellular changes, adaptations, cell damage and death
  • inflammation/immunity/sepsis
  • haemodynamic dysfunction
  • neoplasms
  • fluid, electrolyte and acid base imbalances.

How you learn

The module will be delivered online over a period of 14 weeks with ten weekly ‘live’ sessions, encompassing seminars and case-based discussion to illustrate the multi-system nature of the pathophysiology of acute and chronic disease. Learning materials are made available as the module progresses. This has the benefit of allowing you the flexibility to fit your study around your work and family commitments. Recorded lectures are available, 24/7 and can be viewed repeatedly, allowing you the opportunity to experience the lectures repeatedly and at your convenience. The live sessions augment your learning by giving you the opportunity to seek clarification on any of the taught areas. Attendance at the live sessions is optional as they are recorded and posted on the support website for those who are unable to attend.

How you are assessed

You are assessed by a 3,000-word theoretical case study applying pathophysiological knowledge, presented within the construct of the clinical method. The focus of the case study is an established common general pathology and/or complex multi-pathologies as evidenced in the practitioner’s everyday practice. The case study enhances the development of the practitioner's capacity to deal with complexity, multipathology and comorbidity.


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You must be a qualified health care professional and have had evidence of recent study at degree or master’s level.



Career opportunities

Given the current developments in health care and the ever increasing burden of disease, the need for advanced practitioners with diagnostic and therapeutic capacity is increasing quickly. With the knowledge provided by this award and that combined from the Physical Assessment Skills, and Advanced Physical Assessment Skills awards there are now many opportunities for advanced practitioners from all professions to evolve their roles in primary care, acute care and specialist care in delegated aspects of the clinicians role to support health care teams to meet the demands of the 21st century.



2024/25 entry

Fee for applicants:

  • Length: 12 weeks
  • Start date: 11 March
  • Level: Master's
  • Credits: 20

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Service user and carer involvement

Service users and carers support all aspects of our students' lifecycle from recruitment to graduation.

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