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Online course

An Introduction to Physical Health Assessment

Explore the head-to-toe physical assessment process and learn to safely conduct a patient consultation.

An Introduction to Physical Health Assessment

This course is part of the program Principles of Physical Health Assessment, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in MSc Nursing. Find out more.

Explore methods of best practice for patient consultations

The ‘head-to-toe’ assessment is considered one of the best ways to quickly determine a patient’s overall condition. As such, it’s an invaluable nursing skill. You will explore assessment methods on this course. You will be introduced to different patients and follow them through their health journey, considering the conditions they may be suffering from.

You’ll be guided through the ‘clues’ you gather – working through a sample head-to-toe assessment to learn best practice diagnosis outcomes for your patients.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 – An introduction to the principles of health assessment:

  • consultation and history-taking;

  • critical analysis and decision-making; and

  • documentation in health assessment.

Week 2 – An introduction to physical health assessment:

  • an introduction to the consultation; and

  • head-to-toe examination.

When would you like to start?

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Compare consultation-models and their application to history-taking in health assessment.
  • Justify the process of physical examination and its documentation.
  • Describe how critical thinking is influenced by diagnostics and investigations.

Who is the course for?

This course would suit any experienced nurse who wishes to explore methods of best practice for patient consultations.

Who will you learn with?

Nicky Parker-Summers

A Specialist Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Care, with 35 years clinical experience, including military nursing. Came into education in 2003, becoming a full-time senior lecturer in 2016.

Claire Tubbritt

With over 20 years experience working within emergency and acute care, nationally and internationally, Claire has developed her own skills and experience to share knowledge and improve patient care.

Who developed the course?

Coventry secured a gold rating in the UK government’s 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and is the country’s top modern university in the Guardian University Guide 2018.

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Advance your career with a degree

What's different about this course?

Since 2017 you have been able to take a degree on FutureLearn. This free course is a bit like a starter course for a degree — it should give you a flavour of the degree subject but can also be your first step towards a degree qualification.

If you enjoy this course you can apply to join the program it’s part of to start working towards a degree on FutureLearn.

Don’t worry, you can still take the course without doing a full degree!

How do degrees work on FutureLearn?

Do the free course
Join and complete the program
Get academic credit for an online degree from Coventry University

Which program and degree is this course part of?

This course is part of the program Principles of Physical Health Assessment, which is one of the building blocks that leads to a degree in MSc Nursing.

Explore the aspects of a consultation and the skills required to assess the health of a patient.

Contact FutureLearn for Support