We are currently working on new dates for the 2022/23 academic year. Please sign up for our Education Matters newsletter and you will be informed of the new dates by the end of June 2022.

The Royal Marsden School

Physical Assessment and Clinical Reasoning



Delivery method

Face to face and online

Length of module

The module runs over 12 weeks consisting of: 10 half- day virtual classrooms (a student needs to be present at the time). Independent learning consisting of 8 half- days of online content (presentations, videos and discussion boards).

Academic credits and level

20 credits at level 7

Course availability

Register your interest

Course summary

This module uses ‘problem based learning’ to develop students skills in history taking and physical assessment. The theoretical principles of these topics are delivered all on line (at present) using videos, presentations and interactive sessions. Case studies are discussed which will enable students to analyse clinical information gathered to generate differential diagnoses using clinical reasoning.

Before beginning an application for any of our Advanced Clinical Practice modules or programmes you need to download the following document and work your way through it.  The completed forms will need to be uploaded along with your professional qualification certificate(s) and your application will not be considered without them:

Download the pre-application form here

Brings theoretical and practical learning together brilliantly. Looking back now, I gained confidence and competence to apply complex skills learnt over 13 to 15 weeks. 

Student quote

This module is in association with: UEA-logo

Key topics

  • Advanced physical assessment skills
  • Comprehensive patient history taking
  • Analysis and interpretation of clinical findings
  • Generation of differential diagnoses
  • Using clinical decision-making to narrow the field of differential diagnoses
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Empowerment and accountability
  • Risk management (‘safety netting’ and ‘red flags’) and dealing with uncertainty

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module at Level 7 you should be able to demonstrate achievement of the following learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate the ability to undertake a comprehensive and holistic health history assessment of an individual presenting with a range of symptoms that could be related to an acute episode, long term condition, or as a result of cancer and its treatments
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills required in performing a physical examination of the Neurological, Respiratory, Cardiac, and Abdominal body systems
  • Critically discuss clinical decision making theories and evidence base used in producing a range of differential diagnoses within the learner’s clinical role
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically interpret data and sources of information in order to generate a range of differential diagnoses
  • Demonstrate an ability to synthesise the information from consultation and physical examination and effectively communicate this into a management plan to the individual and the wider inter-disciplinary team


We are currently working on new dates for the 2022/23 academic year. Please sign up for our Education Matters newsletter here and you will be informed of the new dates by the end of June 2022.

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must be working in a clinical role for a minimum of 15 hours per week for the duration of the module
  • A minimum of 3 hours protected clinical time each week (outside normal nursing duties) working alongside an experienced clinician to practice history taking and physical examination skills
  • Applicants need to be 2 years post qualified to do the stand-alone module
  • A Practice Facilitator who is a medical practitioner or experienced Registered Nurse with a Physical Assessment qualification   


30 hours of supervised and certified clinical practice (working alongside a nominated Practice Facilitator); 2 station OSCE; practice portfolio and:

  • Level 6: Oral presentation
  • Level 7: 1000 word critical reflection and oral presentation

Student support

Tutorials with the module leader or personal tutor are available if students require additional help with the planning and writing of their assignments. Email and telephone support is also available from the module leader/personal tutor. 

The Royal Marsden School uses an online environment called Moodle which students must access during their studies to support and enhance our courses. The site provides resources and communication tools. All students will be provided with a username and password to access module specific sections as well as general learning support such as study skills and library resources. Students also have access to the David Adams Library and Electronic Resource Centre. 

To get the best from the live video-conferencing sessions and enable you to participate fully you should have access to a computer or laptop with a camera and microphone. If you have any concerns or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We anticipate high demand for this module and will only process fully completed applications with funding confirmation. Please do not apply if you do not have funding confirmed.