NUR5411 - Advanced clinical assessment and diagnostic reasoning - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 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

School of Nursing and Midwifery


Vanessa Clothier

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Flexible)


This unit will enable students to develop the assessment and diagnostic knowledge and skills required for practice as a nurse practitioner.

The content focuses on the acquisition and synthesis of information from a variety of sources, including patient histories, physical examination and diagnostic tests, to differentiate between normal and abnormal findings and identify differential diagnoses.

Factors which impact on health assessment will be explored. A practical approach to skill acquisition will be adopted. The students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in advanced health assessment relevant to their area of speciality practice.

Skill development will also be supported through the provision of adequate and appropriate clinical practice in the context of the workplace setting and students will be expected to work closely with their clinical supervisors to achieve this.


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

  1. Demonstrate a structured approach to an advanced focused health assessment for each body system.
  2. Perform advanced, comprehensive and holistic health assessment in an area of specialist practice.
  3. Document relevant findings from patient assessment in a succinct and systematic manner.
  4. Analyze the contribution of physical, emotional, psychological, social, and cultural factors to health assessment.
  5. Outline common investigative options relevant to area of specialist practice.
  6. Analyze clinical assessment findings to make decisions about investigative options.
  7. Interpret and analyses results from diagnostic tests in the context of the patient physical assessment.
  8. Synthesize findings from assessment and diagnostic tests to formulate clinical impressions and identify differential diagnoses.
  9. Analyze the role of technology in supporting diagnostic reasoning in the specific clinical context.


Students must be employed in an advanced practice role and supported in extended clinical practice activities.


  • On-line quizzes (10%)
  • Written case study with reflective component (3,000 words) (25%)
  • Practical focused assessment (6 x 30 minute assessments) (40%) (hurdle)
  • Peer teaching assessment (1 hour) (25%)
  • Clinical supervisor documents (Pass / Fail) (hurdle)

Workload requirements

It is expected that students will undertake 25 hrs per week of online activities and self-directed learning.

This will consist of approximately 13 hours of self-directed learning and 12 hours teacher-directed learning per week.

Students are also expected to attend 8 contact days throughout the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


Nursing and midwifery


Must be enrolled in course 4513. Master of Nursing students may enrol upon course coordinator approval.