Health Assessment for Advanced Practice

Subject NURS70007 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Online, on campus workshop and field practice.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two workshops, 6 hours on campus (3 hours each) will be conducted in the first weeks of the semester, 30 hours online tutorials
Total Time Commitment:

Students are expected to devote approximately 9 hours per week to this subject.


The student is required to have concurrent employment as a Registered Nurse and be engaged in or working towards an advanced practice role. The student must also provide documentation of employer support and appropriate multidisciplinary involvement to demonstrate mentorship, supervision and the capacity to assess the competence of their advancing patient assessment skills within their workplace or related agencies.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

This subject requires students to actively and safely contribute to clinical activities. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Nursing Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Ms Di Crellin


Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9401
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

This subject provides the foundation for the development of the health assessment knowledge and skill required for the student to practice in an advanced nursing role. The subject will explore diagnostic decision making, decision making and assessment aids and the factors which impact on health assessment. History taking, general examination skills, diagnostic testing and communication of assessment findings (written and verbal) will form the core content of the subject. Elective topics will be offered and the student will have the option to choose areas for additional study which are relevant to their own area of practice. These topics will include: cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, cognitive and developmental, abdominal, alimentary and nutritional, genitourinary, musculoskeletal integument and psychosocial assessment. The subject will employ a number of strategies to assist the students to develop these skills. On campus tutorials, reading and resource material will be provided to assist students to develop the necessary knowledge and skill for advanced examination and patient assessment. Online discussion will assist the student to develop their understanding of the topics and learn from a variety of colleagues (tutors and other students). Students will also use clinical mentors within their practice environment to support their learning, in particular the development of practical assessment skills and the capacity to interpret the findings in light of the complete health assessment.


The student will develop the following skills specific to health assessment to support advanced nursing practice in their area of specialty:

  • The ability to use a variety of diagnostic decision-making approaches to support identification of a patient / client's problem and guide health assessment.
  • A sound understanding of how the physical, psychological, social, emotional and cultural influences on health and illness contribute to health assessment data collection, interpretation and communication;
  • The capacity to seek health information from a variety of sources and integrate this information to build a comprehensive assessment of the patient / client
  • The competence to take a thorough, accurate and comprehensive health history (which is dependent on development of sound communication skills and using a framework for history taking)
  • Technical proficiency in utilization of health assessment and examination techniques and relevant diagnostic tools
  • The capacity to integrate knowledge of scientific research based underpinnings of health and illness and highly developed cognitive, analytic, problem-solving and diagnostic reasoning skills to interpret health assessment findings;
  • The capacity to express health assessment findings in language shared by the multi-disciplinary team and the ability to communicate findings as a succinct health history, both orally and in writing;

Additionally, the student will have developed knowledge and skills in this subject consistent with the National Competency Standards for Nurse Practitioners defined by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council.

  1. Written assignment of 1,500 words describing the health assessment of patients/clients in the student's Nurse Practitioner category (30%) - Due mid-semester
  2. Two patient health assessments observed and reported by supervisor (40%) - Due in weeks 8 and 10
  3. Written case notes for the patient/client health assessments (20%) - Due weeks 9 and 1

Students must participate in online discussions for all core topics and at least two non-core topics including between two and four online questions per topic (10%)

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:

It is recommended that you purchase one of the following texts:
Talley and O'Connor (2006) Clinical examination: A systematic guide to physical diagnosis. 5th Ed Sydney, Elsevier.
Bickley, L. S and Szilagyi, P G. 2007. Bates' Guide to Physical Examination. 9 th Ed. Lippincott Willians and Wilkins, Philadelphia.
Seidel, H M, Ball, J W, Dains, J E Benedict, G W. 2006 Mosbys Guide To Physical Examination. 6 th Ed. Mosby-Year Book, St Louis.
Additional references and recommended readings are supplied during the semester

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following generic skills of the University of Melbourne graduate and postgraduate coursework student:

  • Highly developed cognitive, analytic and problem-solving skills in the discipline area, characterised by flexibility of approach;
  • The ability and self-confidence to comprehend complex concepts, to express them lucidly, whether orally or in writing, and to confront unfamiliar problems;
  • Awareness of advanced communications technologies and modalities, sound working skills in the application of computer systems and software, and receptiveness to the expanding opportunities of the ‘information revolution';
  • An ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline;
  • Advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline;
  • Advanced competencies in areas of professional expertise and/or scholarship;
  • The capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning;
  • The capacity to value and participate in projects which require team-work;
Links to further information:
Notes: This subject has a multi-media tutorial component delivered via the University's on-line Learning Management System (LMS). Students must have access to appropriate computer facilities and the Internet.

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