The University of Southampton

HLTH6170 Decision Making for Advancing Practice Knowledge in Healthcare

Module Overview

This module is designed to enable you to appreciate the complexities and ambiguities of practical healthcare situations, and to develop mastery through applying advanced knowledge in practical contexts. It aims to increase your knowledge and understanding of the processes involved in health and clinical decision making when patients and service users at the centre of care. You will develop and enhance your practical and empirical knowledge whilst also advancing your abilities to make effective healthcare decisions. Your practice will be developed further by the ability to reflect on judgements made in light of evidence, autonomously and collaboratively, and by recognising, interpreting and evaluating cues.

Aims and Objectives

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 health and care practice.
  • Analyse decisions that are underpinned and informed by sound reasoning and judgement and an ethical stance.
  • Critically evaluate current knowledge and information in healthcare 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 healthcare decisions
  • Evaluate and consider the justifications for particular courses of action in light of evidence, theoretical principles, and health outcomes, drawing upon your practice experiences.
  • 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

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

As a Masters student you will work with others and independently to achieve your goals. You can expect to participate in interdisciplinary, 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 sessions60
Completion of assessment task20
Wider reading or practice20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

For resources which are required or considered useful for the module: key texts, text books, data books, software, web sites, other sources of related information. Description and/or list, with URL, library reference, etc. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Written analysis  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Summative assessments %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

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