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Clinical Examination and Diagnostics in Surgical Care Practice HEA4121


This module has been designed to enable healthcare professionals to develop the knowledge and skills required to elicit and record an accurate clinical history, perform a clinical examination focussing upon major body systems and successfully interpret clinical diagnostic results to inform a clinical management plan. The module is a core module for the MSc Surgical Care Practice.

The practical elements are paramount, to ensure advanced skills are developed and sustained. Hence, this module stipulates the needs of an in-depth understanding of anatomy and physiology, investigations and interpretation of findings, whilst maintaining legal, ethical and professional boundaries.

Module code:HEA4121
Module credits:20
Cost for new students:This module can only be studied as part of the MSc Surgical Care Practice. The full cost of the programme for the 2023/2024 academic year is TBC

If your tuition fee is being paid by a sponsor or you are a sponsor paying a student’s fee, you are required to send a copy of a purchase order to [email protected].

For further guidance please visit: Sponsored students – Edge Hill University

Who is this module for?

This module can only be studied as part of the MSc Surgical Care Practice.

This module will be valuable to practitioners undertaking the MSc in Surgical Care Practice and who are employed in that role by Surgical Directorates.

What are the key aims of the module?

The context of delivery of safe, effective and efficient healthcare is evolving. The strategic direction for the National Health Service (NHS) is to compensate for the reduced availability of junior doctors, due to the implementation of the European Working Time Directive, whilst dealing with an increased care need, due to changes in demographic trends and the emergence of new treatments and healthcare services. One of the national strategies to cope with these changing needs is to enhance the dormant capacity of some healthcare staff by ‘liberating the talents’ of its nursing and allied health professional staff. These drivers require practitioners to develop skills traditionally performed by their medical colleagues. This has resulted in the need to support changes in healthcare practitioner’s roles (Department of Health (DH), 2005). The health practitioner career modernisation, also evolved out of recognition, so that traditional role boundaries often impeded the development of patient-centred services.

The role of an advanced practitioner manifests the ability to elicit and record an accurate medical history, perform clinical examinations and interpret diagnostic results, crucial elements in delivering safe and effective treatment. It is, therefore, important that practitioners develop competence and that their employers have the confidence to delegate the autonomy to perform this role (DH, 2004). This module has, therefore, been designed in accordance with this strategic direction and provides practitioners with a formal process of knowledge and skills development that is recordable and measurable.

To support this advancement in practice, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Health and Care Professions Council and the Department of Health have worked together to provide health professionals with a framework in which they can develop knowledge and skills that are measurable and recordable. Higher education institutions are supported in this development, through the provision of high quality education and training programmes, in accordance with NHS strategic development.

Given the clinical nature of this module, it is a governance imperative that as far as reasonably practical, the students’ successful achievement reliably indicates that a minimum, sustained ‘base-line’ competence has been developed. Therefore, a number of assessment strategies are proposed, so that the triangulation of results will offer a robust framework from which, confirms the students’ competence.

Additionally, it is likely that the students will need to develop clinical acumen for a wide range of presentations and acuity in a variety of settings. It is not possible to simulate all of the practice variables, thus it is vital that the students practice is developed, supported and finally assessed in the workplace by an appropriately qualified clinical mentor.

How will I study?

This module is normally studied over two trimesters. The module overall takes 43 weeks.

What will I study?

  • Applied anatomy and physiology of major body systems
  • Consultation and clinical history taking processes, including documentation
  • Physical examination techniques and interpretation of findings of the major body system
  • Disease signs and symptoms associated with common pathophysiology
  • Management of a range of common presentations
  • Rationale for diagnostic tests and investigation
  • Interpretation of the following: radiographic, biochemical and haematological investigations
  • Interpretation of electrocardiograph and lung function
  • Legal, ethical and professional boundaries of practitioners working in an autonomous role.

How will I be assessed?

Working and practicing these skills under supervision in practice. In addition, discussion boards will be initiated for students to encourage peer review and support in the development of ideas/opinions and skills and will help inform the portfolio development. Activities will be planned that will support the development of underpinning knowledge and practical skills, whilst help will be given towards planning for an examination &amp, OSCE in relation to the development of clinical expertise and the development of treatment plans. There will be a mock OSCE to support students in the practical assessment, to demonstrate what is expected in the marking and set up of the summative OSCE.

On successful completion you will:

  • Elicit and record a detailed and accurate clinical history for a range of clinical presentations to form an initial differential diagnosis.
  • Critically apply knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology to undertake a thorough and focussed clinical examination of patients.
  • Synthesise the findings from the history, examination and investigations, to autonomously formulate and document an appropriate justified management/treatment plan.
  • Practice at an advanced level within legal, ethical, organisational and professional limitations.

Study dates and venues


Starts: Monday 12 September 2022

Session times:


How to apply

Module availability varies from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of some modules it may be that the module is fully booked when your application is received. We will include your details on a waiting list and allocate you a place on the next available intake.

For details of how to apply, please visit the apply page.

Contact us

For further module information, please contact the Module Coordinator, Sally Stuart on 01695 657934 or email [email protected].

For any other queries, you can contact the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health on [email protected].


This module can only be studied as part of the: