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The University of Southampton

HLTH6115 Decision Making for Advanced Clinical Practice

Module Overview

This module aims to increase your knowledge and understanding of the processes involved in clinical decision making which places patients and service users at the centre of care. This will enable you to develop and enhance your scope of clinical practice whilst also advancing your abilities to make effective clinical decisions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Your practice will be developed further by the ability to make judgements in light of evidence, autonomously and collaboratively, and by recognising, interpreting and evaluating cues

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the assessment, judgement and decision making processes used in your practice.
  • Make decisions that are underpinned and informed by sound clinical judgements and an ethical stance.
  • Critically evaluate current knowledge and information in your own area of practice in order to draw on the best available evidence when making decisions.
  • Offer an explanation of the rational and non-rational processes used by you and others when making a clinical decision
  • Justify your clinical decisions, by drawing upon theoretical principles and your practical experience.
  • Evaluate decisions in light of their health outcomes, considering the patient / service user and family/ carer perspective


Module content will include both general decision making concepts and specialist components, which you will be able apply to your area of practice. Topics will be targeted to your interest and practice development. Module content: • Introduction to assessment, judgement and decision-making in advanced practice • Assessment, evaluation, measurement and use of types of data • Theoretical approaches to decision-making in practice • Judgement: personal and social influences on judgement, developing judgement skill and ability, articulating reasoning processes • Ethical considerations: different ethical perspectives and frameworks • Probability, risk and dealing with uncertainty • Decision analysis in practice • Decision making support including use of technology enhanced learning • Interventions: assessing and critiquing the research evidence of particular types of intervention • Health outcomes: methods of evaluating outcomes including patient reported outcomes • The influence of policy and best practice guidance, professional codes and employer requirements, identifying tensions and conflict • Collaborative decision making, working with patients, service users, families and carers, advocacy and legal frameworks

Special Features

It is proposed that a minimum of 25% of the contact time will be shared with other MSc students undertaking similar clinical pathways. It is anticipated that this collaborative learning will promote the sharing of experiences and best practice. For the remaining contact time you will be in your own specialist learning set focussing on your own specialist area of clinical practice. Key messages from the module are reinforced in a highly interactive, day-long ‘master class’ with leaders in the field and clinical experts. This is a unique opportunity to be challenged and stimulated to think differently about the role decision making plays in every day practice situations.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

As an experienced clinician you will work with others and independently to achieve your goals. You can expect to participate in interactive lectures, help sessions, group discussions, and to use a range of technology enhanced and virtual learning approaches. A masterclass shared with other modules introduces you to international leaders, researchers and contemporary theories in the field of decision making. You will participate in debating hypothetical case scenarios, student-led seminars and self-directed learning. Information technology will be utilised where appropriate and you will be directed to web sites of relevance and interest. Specialist lecturers from differing professional/academic backgrounds and experts by experience will contribute to the module to ensure you experience a variety of perspectives.

Preparation for scheduled sessions220
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Benner P. Tanner CA. and Chesla CA. (2009). Expertise in nursing practice: Caring, clinical judgement, and ethics.. 

A review of clinical decision making: models and current research.. ,Volume 17:Issue 2 , pp. 187–195.

Kleinpell RM. (2009). Outcome assessment in advanced practice nursing. 

Standing M (2011). Clinical Judgement and Decision Making for Nursing Students (Transforming Nursing Practice).. 

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking Fast and Slow. 

Strauss SE, Glaziou PP, Richardson SW, Haynes RB (2010). Evidence based medicine: how to practice and teach it.. 

Thompson C. and Dowding D. (2009). Essential Clinical decision making and clinical judgements for nurses.. 

Sque M, Chipulu M, and McGonigle, D. (2009). Clinical decision making. In, Hall M, Noble A and Smith S (eds.) A Foundation for Neonatal Care: a Multi-disciplinary Guide.. 

Higgs J.,Jones M., Loftus S and Christensen N. (eds) (2008). Clinical reasoning in the health professions.. 

Alfaro-Lefevre R. (2012). Critical Thinking, Clinical Reasoning, and Clinical Judgment: A Practical Approach. 

Beauchamp, T.L., and Childress, J.F. (2008). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 

Howatson-Jones L (eds) (2010). Reflective Practice in Nursing (Transforming Nursing Practice). 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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