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The University of Southampton

NPAD6001 Managing Acute Changes in Health Status ( Adult field GEN)

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. This module contains a defined strand of 60 hours learning which will focus on development of your clinical assessment skills.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically discuss the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake a prioritised assessment of people who are experiencing an acute change in health status
  • Analyse how clinical judgement and decision making skills inform the management of nursing care
  • Evaluate the evidence base which supports nursing responses to acute changes in health status
  • Explore how the nurse may identify, prioritise and respond to risk factors that may lead to deterioration in health status
  • Apply knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology in the context of undertaking a bio-psycho-social assessment.


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: ASSESSMENT SKILLS Interviewing skills and assessment frameworks for bio-psychosocial assessment (history taking) Theoretical and practical knowledge about structured physical assessment (inspection, auscultation, palpation) of key body systems. Assessment and referral pathways for people presenting with mental / psychological distress Normal and abnormal findings on assessment and applied anatomy, pathophysiology and physiology in relation to key body systems (Neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, immune endocrine, abdomen and gastrointestinal, renal, musculoskeletal, skin systems). Medicines management: Assessing medicine use MANAGING ACUTE CHANGES IN HEALTH 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: Therapeutic Communication skills Airway skills and supporting the at risk patient BLS Year 2 update Responding to physiological deterioration ECG Taking a structured history Physical assessment skills. Venepuncture and cannulation mental health assessment

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures Seminars Directed study activities Self-directed Study Technology enhanced learning

Practical classes and workshops25
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Independent Study96
Clinical Practice23
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Barber P (2013). Medicine management for nurses. 

Woodrow P (2016). Nursing Acutely Ill Adults. 

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

Jarvis C (2012). Physical examination & health assessment . 

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 .

Managing the Deteriorating Patient.

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

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



Seminar Participation


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 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:


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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