Health Assessment for Advanced Practice1

Subject NURS90067 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Online, on campus workshop and field practice.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 40 hours: 4 workshops, 10 hours conducted on campus during the semester (2.5 hours each), 30 hours online tutorials
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


The student is required to have concurrent employment as a Registered Nurse and be engaged in or working towards an advanced practice nursing role in their area of specialisation.

The student must provide documentation of employer support and appropriate multidisciplinary involvement to demonstrate clinical, supervision, mentorship and assessment of clinical competenies in preparation for advanced practice nursing.

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 feel 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


Subject Overview:

The aim of this subject is to develop advanced health assessment skills in nursing that are relevant to the student’s area of clinical practice.

The subject provides the foundation for the development of health assessment knowledge and skills that are required in order to practice in an advanced practice nursing role.

The subject will explore diagnostic decision making processes taking into consideration factors that impact on health and health assessment outcomes, such as: age, gender, culture, socioeconomic status and life style.

Students will use a client focused approach to health assessment and apply a structured framework to guide health assessment. History taking, general examination skills, diagnostic testing and communication of assessment findings to the health care team and patient (written and verbal) will form the core content of the subject.

Students will have the option of selecting areas that 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 provide a number of strategies to assist the students in developing advanced health assessment skills. On campus tutorials and workshops, reading and resource material will be provided to assist students to develop the necessary knowledge and skills for advanced health examination and patient assessment. Students will use clinical mentors in their practice environment to support their learning, in particular the development of specialty assessment skills.

The subject is designed to support students in meeting the ANMC Competency Standards for Nurse Practitioners (2006).

This subject is a mandatory component of the Master of Advanced Nursing Practice Nurse Practitioner pathway.

Learning Outcomes:

Following completion of this subject it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Clearly articulate and apply principles of decision making and diagnostic reasoning in clinical practice.
  • Recognise the impact of bias on decision making and discuss strategies to minimise the negative effects in clinical practice.
  • Use a variety of diagnostic decision-making approaches to support identification of a patient / client's problem and guide undertaking a comprehensive health assessment.
  • Develop an understanding of how physical, psychological, social, economic, emotional and cultural factors influence health and illness
  • Articulate how physical, psychological, social, economic, emotional and cultural factors impact on a client’s understanding of health and illness and health practices, health assessment and communication.
  • Adopt a client-focused approach to health assessment and shared decision making and how this approach may be promoted in clinical practice.
  • Use a structured framework for client health assessment that is effective (ensures all relevant data are collected) and efficient (is organised and timely).
  • Integrate health information from a variety of sources to develop a comprehensive assessment of the patient / client.
  • Undertake a thorough, accurate and comprehensive patient health history (which is dependent on the development of sound communication skills and framework for history taking).
  • Conduct a general assessment of a patient / client which will form the basis for more detailed system assessment and examination.
  • Demonstrate technical proficiency in utilising health assessment and examination techniques in their area of clinical practice.
  • Integrate knowledge of scientific research based underpinning of health and illness to interpret health assessment findings.
  • Use highly developed cognitive, analytic, problem-solving and diagnostic reasoning skills to interpret health assessment findings.
  • Communicate health assessment findings effectively to members of the multi-disciplinary team, both orally and in writing.
  • Communicate assessment findings and health related information effectively to the client and family.
  1. Written assignment of 2,000 words (40%) - Due week 6
  2. Six patient health assessments equivalent to 500 words each (60%) - Due throughout the semester
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:

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.

Related Course(s): Master of Advanced Nursing
Master of Advanced Nursing Practice
Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Mental Health)
Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner)

Download PDF version.