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HLTH6205 Diagnostic Assessment and Decision Making

Module Overview

Students will have completed the History Taking and Physical Assessment module which considers health assessment from a broad multi-professional viewpoint, focusing on discrimination between ‘normal’ vs ‘abnormal’ findings. This module will focus more specifically on variants from the normal (the pathophysiological) and explore the concept of clinical diagnosis. A variety of learning methods will bring students into contact with active clinicians, and with researchers who are engaged in constructing diagnostic tools. The module is based on the hypothesis that a critical understanding of both quantitative and qualitative aspects of clinical reasoning and decision making underpins diagnostic accuracy and skill.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To enable you to progress from history taking and physical examination, to selecting appropriate investigations, analysing clinical findings and undertaking diagnostic decision making. This is a core module within the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (Advanced Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Allied Health Practitioner) pathways. It cannot be studied in place of the Decision Making for Advanced Clinical Practice module.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically explore the concept of clinical diagnosis with reference to history, culture, professional identity and personal perspectives.
  • Demonstrate the ability to articulate diagnostic reasoning with reference to underpinning clinical science including: a epidemiology b pathophysiology c clinical measurement d uncertainty, probability, risk and safety
  • Critically apply underpinning life science in the selection and interpretation of diagnostic tests
  • Critically appraise the contribution, accuracy and costs of clinical tests to inform differential diagnoses.
  • Justify clinical decisions by drawing on theoretical principles and practical experience.

Syllabus

• Definitions and models of clinical diagnosis – historical, cross professional and cross cultural perspectives • Decision making theory and its application to diagnostic reasoning and clinical decision making • The role of clinical testing within a consultation: history, examination, laboratory and imaging • Critically analysing the costs and benefits of clinical testing • The accuracy of diagnostic testing: sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, risk and probability. • Applied clinical life science with a focus on pathophysiology • Clinical testing: haematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, principles of imaging, pathology, functional measurement and cardiovascular investigations • Designing clinical tools. • Critically exploring the importance of clinical context in diagnostic decision making with reference to service users’ perceptions, beliefs, aspirations, concerns, expectations and views.

Special Features

Students will benefit if they can work with a clinical mentor in their practice area to apply their learning on the module. Normally this will be a medical practitioner. It is recognised that not all students will be able to avail themselves of this and as such it is not a course requirement.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A range of teaching and learning methods may be used including: On line materials for life science preparation • Lectures on key themes • Study groups • Blackboard and other on-line materials • Case based clinical scenarios using laboratory results • Clinical mentors in students’ work base (where possible) • Problem solving workshops designing clinical tools • Facilitated discussion online/Professional conversations delivered in the classroom • Locating and using web based resources • Networking with other students via e-mail/discussion board • Work based activities • Literature retrieval and analysis • Guided reading

TypeHours
Teaching45
Tutorial5
Independent Study200
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

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

Higgins C (2013).  Understanding Laboratory Investigations: A guide for nurses and health professionals. 

Sox H, Higgins M, Owens D (2013).  Medical Decision Making. 

Henderson M, Tierney L, Smetana G (2012). The Patient History: Evidence Based Approach. 

Katz D (2001). Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence Based Medicine. Fundamental principles of clinical reasoning and research. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Students will undertake a formative and then a summative multiple choice question paper. (30% of overall mark) For the summative essay the student will select a case from their practice area, in which they participated in making a clinical diagnosis. With direct reference to the case they will critically analyse their diagnostic reasoning and decision making. (70% of overall mark) Students must pass both summative components.

Formative

Multiple choice Test

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (2500 words) 70%
Multiple choice Test  (90 minutes) 30%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 70%
Exam 30%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites

To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CodeModule
HLTH6121Principles of History Taking and Physical Assessment
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