AC6761 - Complex assessment and decision making in healthcare practice

What will I learn on this module?

The module focuses on three key elements:
• Evidence based critical analysis of what constitutes complex needs in patients/clients.
• Critical evaluation of the core elements that constitute safe, ethical and person centred practice to inform your own practice
• How to undertake client assessment processes informed by appropriate legal, ethical and professional frameworks and guidance, and articulate and document your evidence based decision making for any interventions you provide.

The module introduces you to the existing evidence base which informs your practice; enables you to understand and critique the evidence and apply it to your own practice. You will learn how to; find and critique evidence directly related to the module using online library and skills plus services, develop your writing, referencing and presentation skills at postgraduate level enabling you to build upon and further develop your current academic skills. The module develops your ability to understand how to undertake an holistic assessment of the client, based upon current legal, ethical and professional guidance and advise the patient/client on possible preventative and treatment options including the risks and benefits. This will require you to articulate and document evidence based defensible decision making related to healthcare practice. It also helps you to evaluate your own practice setting in terms of what constitutes safe and ethical practice

How will I learn on this module?

The focus of this module is critical reflection on your own professional learning and practice around assessment and decision making in healthcare. The module helps your learning at postgraduate level, build upon your existing study skills and develop new knowledge and skills to use technology enabled learning effectively, as the module is provided via a blended learning approach. The module will commence with an analysis of your own prior skills and abilities to learn effectively at postgraduate level through blended learning, which is a mix of eLearning and face-to-face seminars. Online learning materials will provide a combination of theory; directed learning activities; reflection upon practice experiences of assessment and decision making. You will attend seminars and share your learning with teachers and peers via presentations and group discussion and will give and receive feedback and feed forward to each other. You will apply your learning to a summative presentation and viva which requires you to analyse your current practice and make recommendations for improvement where appropriate.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module teacher who will guide your academic learning and assessment throughout the module. They have been involved in developing the elearning materials and assessment exercises, will provide some of your face to face teaching, and feedback, supported by other staff. Details of your assessment will be introduced to you at the start of the module and you will also have an opportunity to engage in online group tutorial support. You will also have an allocated personal/guidance teacher who will provide advice and support in relation to academic, procedural, and (where desired and appropriate) personal matters during the programme of study you have enrolled on. You will have access to 24/7 generic IT support and specific support from the programme team with any specific IT issues related to the eLearning package. You will also have access to the full range of student administration and support services offered by Northumbria University which includes library and learning support outlined fully in the programme handbook.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1.Critique current evidence of factors that contribute to complex cases or situations that may present in healthcare practice
2.Critically appraise assessment tools used in healthcare practice

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Apply understanding of what constitutes safe, ethical and effective practice to assessment and decision making in healthcare practice
4.Critically evaluate personal lifelong learning skills and abilities, identifying areas for development

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5.Critically analyse own practice in relation to the principles of safe and ethical healthcare practice, identifying areas for development

How will I be assessed?

Formative exercises
Case study analysis / implications for consultation
• Critical analysis of client consultation case studies to articulate information gained or missing from assessment and professional decision making process based upon current legal, ethical and professional frameworks and guidance.
MLO 1, 2,3,5- Verbal peer and teacher feedback in seminar

Brief audit of practice setting
• Audit and critical analysis of current policies, procedures and documentation used in current area of healthcare practice
MLO 2, 3,5- verbal peer and teacher feedback of practice based audit

Summative assignment

The summative assessment for this module will require presenting a complex case study drawing upon relevant evidence, critical appraisal of the assessment tool(s) and process you use in practice for its effectiveness in identifying holistic patient need, making recommendations for improvement in practice. This will be assessed in a viva voce.
MLO 1,2,3,5

Summative feedback on final submission of the assessed work will be given in a structured format to inform future practice


120/60 L6 credits



Module abstract

During this module you will build upon your existing professional knowledge and skill as a nurse, or healthcare practitioner enabling you to analyse what constitutes safe, evidence based, ethical and person centred practice. It focuses specifically on your accountability; the importance of sound assessment processes informed by appropriate legal, ethical and professional frameworks and guidance, and helps you to articulate and document your evidence based decision making for any complex healthcare decisions and interventions you provide. The module will enable you to demonstrate that you are working to relevant professional standards. It will include classroom-based sessions, clinical practice- based experience with a learner and structured, directed learning activities supported by on-line learning materials. Building on and deepening prior learning you will further develop a greater understanding of how manage complex cases in the healthcare environment.. At this level, you will be expected to demonstrate your understanding of the complexity of factors that can impact and influence the outcome of assessments and decision making and consider strategies to address the steps moving forward. You will be required to present a complex case study drawing upon relevant evidence, critically appraise the assessment tool(s) and process you use in practice for its effectiveness in identifying holistic patient need, making recommendations for improvement in practice. This will be assessed in a viva voce.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 Year Part Time

Department Nursing, Midwifery & Health

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023 or January 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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