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Short courses & CPD
Nursing & Health

Advanced Physical Assessment and Disease Management Skills University Certificate in Postgraduate Continuing Education

This module aims to equip practitioners with the necessary knowledge and skills to facilitate the clinical assessment of patients in acute and community setting within the scope of advanced practice specified by their employer.


14 weeks


Course overview

By having both a theoretical and clinical component, you extend your practice and gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be operational in the physical assessment, diagnosis and patient management elements of advanced practice.

You focus on developing advanced competence in clinical assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and patient centred evidence-based therapeutics. Physical assessment skills and diagnostic reasoning sessions will develop your knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as applied to the diagnostic process. An appropriately qualified and experienced advanced practitioner is required to act as a nominated clinical supervisor for the duration of the module, for example a doctor, or someone with a master’s level advanced clinical practice qualification.

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Course details

What you study

You gain advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of:
• investigative analysis, for example bloods and chest X-ray
• advanced clinical assessment including focused history, examination and diagnostics within the professional scope
• clinical management and case review in minor, acute, chronic and complex disease states with co-morbidity
• evidence-based therapeutic intervention in common minor, acute and chronic disease of body systems, including disorders of the following systems: pulmonary, cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal, renal/GU, endocrine, gastrointestinal, haematology/oncology, HENT and skin.

How you learn

The module is delivered face to face over six full day sessions delivered every other week. Learning materials are made available via the blackboard ultra site as the module progresses. Morning sessions will concentrate on synthesis of history, differential diagnosis, clinical reasoning, investigations, and underlying pathophysiology of body systems using case studies and class based discussion. Afternoons will be used for you to practice your physical assessment skills in a focused way, combining examination of multiple body systems. .

Work-based experience and independent learning will be a strong focus of this module to optimise application of knowledge to practice and this will be supported by a workbook. The work-based experience will involve you developing knowledge and skills in the assessment and management of patient cases.

How you are assessed

The summative assessment has two components.

1. A modified objective structured long examination review (MOSLER), comprising a patient history, focused physical examination, formulation of a differential diagnosis, requesting appropriate investigations, and a plan for further management. This will be observed by the clinical or academic supervisor, and a viva type discussion will then follow where the student will be expected to justify their actions and articulate the synthesis of their thought processes regarding the patient’s presentation and subsequent management. This component is pass/fail.

2. A 30-question online exam lasting 90 minutes comprising a mix of multiple choice and extended matching questions. The percentage mark for the exam will be the overall mark for the module if both components are passed.

Both components need to be completed successfully to attain a pass.

You are assessed on your ability to:

• demonstrate safe clinical judgement in the application of core clinical skills and disease knowledge in undertaking the correct focused history and examinations pertinent to a patient's presentation
• delineate a working diagnosis based on analysis of the patient data obtained from the focused clinical assessment
• demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of the use of best evidence in supporting the patient's clinical assessment and case management
• demonstrate capacity to critically evaluate the evidence on which the management plan is based for any limitations which may be pertinent to a patient's clinical profile
• demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of the physiological processes associated with the presenting patient’s signs and symptoms. As well as the interrelationship between signs and symptoms.


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants must:

  • have already undertaken physical assessment / clinical skills training and be skilled in the assessment of all body systems, for example have undertaken the Physical Assessment Skills module or similar training
  • be able to nominate an appropriately qualified and experienced advanced practitioner to act as a clinical supervisor for the duration of the module, for example a doctor, or someone with master’s level advanced clinical practice qualification, as they will carry out your summative practice assessment
  • be currently employed in a specialist/advanced area of practice in a clinical role requiring a level of autonomy in diagnostics and case management, with appropriate access to advanced practitioners.



Career opportunities

There are now many requirements for practitioners with physical assessment skills capacity in all areas of health care.



2024/25 entry

Fee for applicants:

Limited funded places available

  • Length: 14 weeks
  • Start date: September and January
  • 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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