Nursing (NURS) 518
Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Practitioners
NURS 518 Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Practitioners is one of the foundational courses in a program of study leading to the Post Master's Diploma: Nurse Practitioner or the Master of Nursing: Nurse Practitioner degree. NURS 518 reviews principles of physical examination and introduces concepts and principles on which the clinical nurse practitioner role is based. These include advanced physical examination techniques, clinical decision making principles, communication and documentation.
NURS 518 has a five-day residency component that provides students with an intensive health assessment experience in a group setting.
NURS 518 builds on fundamental physical assessment tools and techniques completed in a registered nursing program. Students are strongly encouraged to review these principles prior to starting this course.
At the end of this course, the student should be able to:
- complete a comprehensive physical examination of an adult client, including appropriate psychosocial, developmental and cultural elements;
- complete a focused physical examination of an adult client based on priority presenting symptoms including appropriate psychosocial, developmental and cultural elements;
- identify and interpret both normal and abnormal physical assessment finding;
- use appropriate interviewing techniques to complete a comprehensive health history
- synthesize health assessment information to diagnose health risks and states of health/illness;
- formulate preliminary differential diagnoses through the integration of client information;
- articulate the fundamental principles of health promotion and prevention as they relate to their individual clients, client groups, and /or the population as a whole;
- apply epidemiologic principles in the process of clinical decision making;
- apply evidenced based decision making principles to the ordering and interpretation of lab and diagnostic testing;
- discuss the approach to the client when conferring a diagnosis with sensitivity to the patient experience and within the philosophy of client-centered care;
- explore patient experiences of illness and integrate this knowledge into the context of client-centered care;
- explore elements within family culture and personal experiences that affect change -behaviours and outcomes in health care;
- communicate effectively in order to support, educate, coach and counsel clients;
- appropriately complete consultations/referrals for clients to other health-care providers;
- appropriately document clinical data, assessment findings, and differential diagnoses;
- explore the legalities of documentation and professional liability as they pertain to nurse practitioner practice;
- adhere to federal and provincial/territorial legislation, policies and standards related to privacy, documentation and information management; and
- practice (in the student role) in accordance with federal and provincial/territorial legislation, professional and ethical standards, and policy relevant to nurse practitioner practice.
Bickley, L., & Szilagyi, P. G. (2017). Bates' guide to physical examination and history-taking (12th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.
Bickley, L. (2013). Bates' visual guide to physical examination (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.
NURS 518 is an asynchronous online course. Students are expected to connect to an Internet Service Provider at their own expense. In addition, NURS 518 has a five-day residency component that provides students with an intensive health assessment practicum in a group setting that is offered between weeks seven and ten at various locations across Canada.
In order to successfully complete this course, you must own or have ready access to certain computer hardware and software programs. For complete and up-to-date information on the minimum computer requirements required to complete the graduate nursing courses, visit the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies technical site.
NURS 518 consists of 13 weeks grouped into four themed units:
Unit 1: Physical Examination Principles
Unit 1 focuses on physical examination techniques. Building on the competencies of a registered nurse, NP students will review basic health assessment principles. Students will learn advanced techniques and select diagnostic tests. Students will be introduced to the concepts of complete vs. focused physical examination and identifying and interpreting normal and abnormal findings. Using problem based learning, students will gain an understanding of the physical examination and special tests required to accurately assess and diagnose common conditions seen in primary care.
Unit 1 includes the mandatory five-day onsite residency that is offered between weeks seven and ten at various locations across Canada. Students will be asked to select their preferred location and attend this residency at their own expense.
Unit 2: Health History and Documentation
Unit 2 focuses on the essential elements required for history taking and documentation. Students will apply advanced knowledge and skills relating to collecting appropriate health history (focused vs. complete) and completing patient documentation using SOAP format.
Unit 3: Clinical Decision Making
Unit 3 focuses on synthesizing health assessment information using critical inquiry and clinical reasoning to diagnose health risk and states of health/illness. Students will learn to apply decision-making frameworks and skills that are used in the provision of clinical services to individuals of all life stages. The unit focuses on providing the students with the fundamentals of clinical decision making in order to build a successful personal clinical decision making framework. Students will learn the processes of formulating differential diagnoses, as well as incorporating epidemiological and health promotion principles. Students will gain an understanding of behavioral sciences and the health/illness experience.
Unit 4: Communication and Standards
Unit 4 focuses on the principles of collaboration, consultation and referral. Intraprofessional consultation and referrals will be introduced along with topics in patient communication. Lastly, this unit focuses on the professional role, responsibility and accountability relating to jurisdictional scope of practice.
|Assessment Item||Percentage of Total Grade|
|Conference Participation and required postings||10%|
|Assignment 1 - Case Study||20%|
|Assignment 2 - Case Study||20%|
In order to pass NURS 518, you must achieve a minimum mark of 70% on conference participation, a combined minimum average mark of 70% on the two written assignments and a combined minimum average mark of 70% on the two written examinations, and pass the Residency.
If the minimum mark is not achieved on any element of the assessment structure (conference participation, written assignments, exams or residency component), then a failing grade will be assigned for NURS 518. In the event that the student either fails or withdraws and then re-registers in NURS 518, all elements of the course must be repeated (conference participation, written assignments, examination, and residency component).
Conference Participation (10%)
Feedback regarding conference participation will be ongoing. Quality of input (not quantity) is the goal. Feedback will focus on the student's ability to provide organized and original contributions that reflect analysis and synthesis of the material presented.
Assignment 1 – Case Study (20%)
Assignment 2 – Case Study (20%)
Exam 1 (25%)
Exam is a multiple-choice examination written prior to the Residency Component. The focuses of this examination are the principles of a complete physical examination, including abnormal findings and special tests.
Exam 2 (25%)
Exam 2 consists of a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions.
Residency Component (Pass/Fail)
The Residency Component (including participation and successful completion of a physical assessment evaluation) is marked on a pass/fail basis. Students must pass the Residency Component in order to pass NURS 518.
Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.
Opened in Revision 2, April 2017