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The University of Southampton

NPCG2038 Managing Acute Changes in Health Status (Dual 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 Field 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) MENTAL HEALTH Field Specific Content: Mental health and the law Care planning Admission and discharge planning Admission of a person in acute distress Managing risk of self-harm and suicide Managing risk of violence and aggression Engagement and observation of people at risk Psychopharmacology Psychotropic medication in practice The person experiencing psychosis The person with a personality disorder The person with an eating disorder Managing mental health crisis Pharmacology of commonly encountered drugs CHILD Field Specific Content: Managing neonatal complex and acute care Managing children’s pre, peri & post operative care Child and adolescent mental health service provision Children and young people living with eating disorders Self harm in children and young people Managing children’s pain Management of respiratory collapse in childhood Management of sepsis and related infection and infectious diseases in childhood Acute assessment and management: Diabetic ketoacidosis in children Children’s fluid and fluid management Acute care settings: managing sudden death Promote, restore and stabilise health status in children Pharmacology of commonly encountered drugs 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 Study79.5
Practical classes and workshops14
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

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

Gormley Fleming E and Peate I (2019). Fundamentals of Children's applied Anatomy and Physiology: an essential guide for Nursing and Healthcare Students. 

Norman I & Ryrie I (2018). The Art and Science of Mental Health Nursing. 

Woodrow P (2015). Nursing Acutely Ill Adults. 

Managing the Deteriorating Patient.

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 .

Spotting the sick child an educational tool for health care practitioners, to aid in recognition of serious illness in children. Dr Davies F sponsored by Department of Health (2004)CD visual format

Healy D (2016). Psychiatric Drugs Explained. 

Thompson M, Hooper C, Laver-Bradbury C, Gale C (2012). Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Theory and Practice. 

Macqueen S Bruce EA and Gibson F (2012). The Great Ormond Street Hospital manual of children’s nursing practices. 

Glasper EA, and Richardson J (2010). Textbook of children’s and young people’s nursing. 

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

Barber P (2013). Medicine management for nurses. 


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: Internal & External

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