Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine


Dr Sylvia Pomeroy


Alfred Hospital

  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • First semester 2016 (Off-campus)


This unit builds upon existing epidemiology knowledge that students have to apply to clinical practice and research. The unit will require students to write clinical vignettes that describe patients' relevant problems, identify personal information gaps for clinical problems, and locate information to meet these information gaps. Verified methods will be used to frame a clinical question and design a strategy to search the medical literature using summaries, syntheses and study databases to locate the best evidence available to answer a clinical question for treatment, diagnosis, screening, harm and prognosis.

The unit will provide an opportunity for students to critically appraise the validity of clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews and primary studies published in the medical literature, and apply results to clinical research and patient care. The unit will address criteria for choosing studies including the importance of levels of evidence against a gold standard. In addition, the unit will acknowledge the importance of clinical judgement and decision making within the context of effect size of appraised studies and application to clinical research and patient care.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe a patient's clinical problem as a written clinical scenario for formulating an answerable clinical question;
  2. Apply the PICO model to consolidate the clinical scenario with personal gaps in diagnosis, interventions for benefit (and harm) and prognosis and articulate the answerable clinical question;
  3. Search medical databases according to different levels of evidence, identify and appraise critical information for internal validity and application to the patient;
  4. Select and appraise clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews, and screening decision aids that inform the shared decision-making between clinician and patient for a decision regarding participation in a screening program;
  5. Synthesise the principles of evidence-based practice and apply them to diagnosis, screening, treatment, harm and prognosis studies in clinical practice.


Conduct a search of medical databases according to different levels of evidence to find the best available answer to a clinical question (500 words) (10%)
Analysis of a shared decision making process (1,500 words) (20%)
Short answer responses for key topics (20%)
Applied critical appraisal of a clinical scenario (1,500 words) (30%)
Students must present their findings from the applied critical appraisal by way of a 20 minute conference style presentation (20%)

Workload requirements

This unit is structured into weekly modules. Each week comprises independent study (average 9 hours per week) and weekly online tasks. During the 9 hours per week of independent study you should read assigned course notes and the recommended readings listed in each module. During the recommended 3 hours you should complete the weekly task and conduct research for assessments. The total workload requirement for this unit is 12 hours per week. There will be two compulsory study days (15 contact hours). Both study days will be conducted at the Alfred Hospital.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


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