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The University of Southampton

NPAD2028 Managing Acute Changes in Health Status (Adult Field)

Module Overview

In this module you will build on your previous learning so that you can prioritise and respond to the changing levels of support that people require when their health status changes. You will develop your ability to manage and evaluate care across healthcare settings to promote, restore and stabilise health status.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake a prioritised assessment of people who are experiencing an acute change in health status
  • Explain how clinical judgement and decision making skills are important aspects of managing nursing care
  • Justify nursing responses to acute changes in health status using evidence based interventions
  • Identify, prioritise and respond to risk factors that may lead to deterioration in health status


Content for ALL Fields: Clinical judgement & decision making Responding to mental and emotional distress including agitation, aggression and challenging behaviour Responding to self-harm and or suicidal ideation Recognising and responding to acute deterioration in physical health status (e.g. sepsis) Breaking significant news Sudden and / or traumatic death Ethical and legal issues in acute care: DNACPR, DOLS Managing risks to vulnerable groups with acute health care needs (e.g. Learning Disability) Human Factors: Safety culture, Debriefing Medicines Management: Safe medicine use. (e.g. drug interactions / reactions including anaphylaxis; recreational drugs; using technology to improve medicines safety; forms of prescribing including PGD) ADULT Specific Content: Assessing, recognising and responding to acute and critical physical illness Respiratory Care and Support: Respiratory failure, NIV, Chest Drain, ABG Interpretation Referral pathways and escalation of care (e.g. role of EWS; Outreach; communication frameworks) Managing symptoms and distress in acute care (to include pain, agitation, psychological distress in critical illness, nausea) Surgical and post-operative care. Pharmacology related to commonly encountered drugs in acute conditions. Assessment, interventions and related pathophysiology in relation to acute changes in: Respiratory function Cardiovascular function Shock and Fluid balance disorders Neurological function (to include acute neurological deterioration, delirium, epilepsy) Genito-urinary function (including UTI, AKI) Endocrine function (e.g. diabetes and DKA) SKILLS to include: Responding to physiological deterioration Therapeutic Communication skills Airway skills and supporting the at risk patient BLS yr 2 update ECG

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught using a variety of learning and teaching approaches which may include: Lectures Seminars Directed study activities Self-directed Study Technology enhanced learning

Clinical Practice40
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Independent Study85.5
Practical classes and workshops14
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Barber P (2013). Medicine management for nurses. 

Barber P (2012). Further essentials of pharmacology for nurses. 

Managing the Deteriorating Patient.

Woodrow P (2016). Nursing Acutely Ill Adults. 

Peate I and Dutton H (2012). Acute Nursing Care: Recognising and Responding to Medical Emergencies. 

Tait D, James J, Williams C and Barton D (2015). Acute and Critical Care in Adult Nursing. 

Douw G, Schoohoven L, Holwerda T, Huisman-de-Waal G, van Zanten ARH, van Acterberg Tand van der Hoeven JG (2015). Nurses’ worry or concern and early recognition of deteriorating patients on general wards in acute care hospitals: a systematic review.. Critical care. ,19 .


Assessment Strategy

This assessment will test your ability to assess a person's care needs, relate signs and symptoms, identify risk of deterioration and articulate a plan of care.




MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (1.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (1.5 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated with this module

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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