NRS532 Health Assessment for Advancing Nursing Practice (8)


This subject facilitates the development of health assessment across the lifespan for advancing nursing practice. The subject will focus on factors impacting on a mental and physical health assessment and will include history taking, clinical examination skills and diagnostic testing to obtain relevant data. Students will develop skills in the integration of knowledge, analysis, problem solving, solution focused interventions and recovery and diagnostic reasoning to interpret evidence in complex and challenging clinical situations. Factors impacting on health assessment in the rural and remote setting will be explored. A collaborative competency based learning contract will be developed in consultation with the subject coordinator and a clinical mentor and based on the Competency Standards for the Advanced Registered Nurse (2005). Students undertaking this subject will negotiate mentoring from a suitably qualified health professional to practice health assessment skills and if necessary negotiate with their employer to work in the specialty area for a certain time to meet their learning objectives in the subject. Students will attend a 5 day residential school in this subject.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 2
Distance*Bathurst Campus
*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: NRS532
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Assumed Knowledge

Undergraduate health assessment and professional nursing experience

Enrolment restrictions

Students enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma of Nursing (with specialisations) or Master of Nursing (with specialisations). Not available to international students.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to apply health assessment completion and examination techniques to obtain information from health consumers across the lifespan.
  • be able to identify and apply information from a range of sources and initiate strategies to confirm data.
  • be able to integrate data from relevant sources and seek additional clinical information to validate clinical decisions.
  • be able to apply critical thinking skills and a variety of diagnostic decision making principles to assist the health consumer's recovery.
  • be able to integrate and apply knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology as information from additional sources to inform decision making.
  • be able to demonstrate advanced communication skills to obtain information.
  • be able to undertake systematic and focussed surveillance to detect subtle changes in the health consumer's condition.
  • be able to identify and social determinants of health, how the biological, psychological, social and geographical features of the rural and remote environment, impact on the health of the consumer and service provision.
  • be able to apply the principles of cultural competence to nursing practice with individuals and families when undertaking a health assessment.
  • be able to recognise and apply legal and ethical frameworks in the conduct of health assessment.
  • be able to facillitate collaboration with the inter professional team.


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Analysis, problem solving and diagnostic decision making principles, solution focussed interventions and recovery.
  • Pathophysiology as evidence to inform clinical decision making.
  • Case study framework (including one with a focus on Indigenous peoples) for health assessment of the following systems: neurological, ear nose and throat, mental health, cardiovascular, respiratory, abdominal/diabetes(endocrine), gastrointestinal genito urinary, musculoskeletal inflammatory, skin and the psychological and social domains.
  • Advanced communication skills in history taking, assessment, examination and dispersment of findings. Advanced communication during assessment involving consultation with families/carers of vulnerable people including people with an intellectual disability and/or mental health issues.
  • Mental and physical health assessment skills and examination techniques including people with complex needs eg people with an intellectual disability and /or mental health issues.
  • Sources of health information. Retrieval, analysis and synthesis of data.
  • Social determinants of health, social and geographical features that impact on environmental factors.
  • Cultural competence.
  • Ethical and legal frameworks. Policies and protocols eg. Australian Govt Aged Care Assessment program (ACAP) Policy and NSW Dept of Health Policy. Protocols and Procedures Manual for Aged Care Assessment Teams in NSW.

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 5 day residential school. Case based learning and student presentations will occur at the residential school. High fidelity simulated learning will be used to teach advanced examination, patient assessment techniques, clinical reasoning and diagnostic decision making. Health assessment skills will be assessed by simulation.  Travel to residential schools will be required for this subject.

Work Place Learning

This subject contains a Compulsory Workplace Learning component of 7 days duration. Students will be mentored by an experienced advanced practice registered nurse and / or a physician. They will be required to develop a collaborative competency learning contract based on the ANMC Competency Standards for the Advanced Registered Nurse 2005. A five day residential shool will supoort their learning process.

Specialised Resources

Travel to residential schools will be required for this subject.  Students will be required to arrange a suitable clinical experience and supervision to achieve the assessment components of this subject.


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.