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The University of Southampton

HLTH6203 Diagnostic Assessment and Decision Making for Advanced Clinical Practice (Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner)

Module Overview

This module will aim to increase your knowledge and understanding of the processes involved in diagnostic reasoning and clinical decision making ensuring that the neonate and their family are at the centre of care.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the assessment, judgement, diagnostic and decision making processes used in neonatal practice.
  • Make decisions that are underpinned and informed by sound diagnostic reasoning, effective and transparent clinical judgements and an ethical stance
  • Demonstrate critical analysis with regard to diagnostic thinking and decision making in complex clinical situations with reference to epidemiology, uncertainty, probability risk and safety
  • Justify and articulate your clinical decisions, by drawing upon theoretical principles, current evidence and your practical experience
  • Critically reflect on and evaluate decisions in light of their health outcomes, considering the neonate and their family


This will include the general principles of decision making and diagnostics which you will be able apply to neonatal practice. The core content will include: Evaluation of the theoretical approaches to decision-making in practice which is underpinned with diagnostic reasoning and clinical science Introduction to assessment including an analysis of the clinical, ethical and social influences on judgement Exploration of the accuracy of diagnostic testing: sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, risk and probability Ethical considerations: different ethical perspectives and frameworks Probability, risk and dealing with uncertainty 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 an experienced clinician you will work with others and independently to achieve your goals. Teaching and learning methods are likely to include the following: • Specialist lectures • Seminars • Case presentations • Lectures • Group debate/critical discussion of hypothetical case scenarios • Self -directed learning and work based activities • Interactive lectures • Problem solving workshops 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

Independent Study215
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

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. 

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

Standing M (2017). Clinical Judgement and Decision Making in Nursing (Transforming Nursing Practice). 

Smyth O., McCabe C (2017). Think and think again! Clinical decision making by advanced nurse practitioners in the Emergency Department. Emergency Medicine. ,March 2017 Volume 31 Pages 72–74 .

Nurses, information use, and clinical decision making—the real world potential for evidence-based decisions in nursing.

Croskerry P, Cosby K, Schenkel S, Wears R (2009). Patient Safety in Emergency Medicine. 

Kahneman D (2012). Thinking fast and slow. 


Assessment Strategy

The summative assignment will consist of a written critical analysis of a decision made by you and related to neonatal practice. The aim is to demonstrate mastery of a clinical decision with advanced knowledge and understanding of diagnostic reasoning and clinical decision making. You will analyse and discuss the context and process of the decision made, reflecting upon the alternative courses of action open to you, and critically appraise and evaluate the outcomes. You will draw on a wide range of research evidence, theoretical perspectives and your clinical experience to reflect and debate the issues arising from the decision within the particular ethical, practical, social and policy context.


Peer Group Feedback


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3500 words) 100%
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