Principles of Physical Assessment


Gain the physical examination skills you need to enhance patient care and optimise service provisions in your role as a nurse or health professional.

During this module you will compare normal and abnormal findings from physical examination across a broad range of areas, including skin, nails, head, hair, eyes, ears, nose, throat and neck, while also exploring the physical assessments involved in the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardio, peripheral vascular, gastro-intestinal and neurological systems.

With the experts at Staffordshire University, you will also explore mental health assessments and get to get to grips with the fundamental skills and knowledge required to take a comprehensive history and physical examination of the adult patient.


The module is delivered as full days in university, across a 12-week period. You then have a period of 12 weeks to consolidate your theoretical learning by being assessed in the clinical practice setting. You will need to spend a minimum of 30 clinical learning hours in practice that are signed off by your preceptor. These 30 hours must be accounted for in a learning log to be submitted with the practice assessment document.

In addition to these logged clinical hours, these 24 weeks comprise:

  • 37 hours theory. This contact time includes that spent in the classroom or accessing directed activities in the virtual learning environment (Blackboard™).
  • 83 hours independent study. This total is indicative of the amount of time required for reading around the topic, any assignment work and any clinical experience outside that completed with mentor. These hours do not need to be evidenced.


The assessments for this module include:

An MCQ examination

A completed practice competency document signed by your preceptor

A record of at least 30 clinical hours signed by your preceptor

Academic credits
Delivery method
On campus
Centre for Health Innovation Stafford

Every Wednesday for 9 weeks

Start date

Wednesday 18th September 2024

Health, Science and Wellbeing

Entry requirements

Students will require a preceptor to support them through this module. This should be a GP or hospital consultant/registrar/staff grade, Advanced Nurse or any practitioner that has completed a recognised physical assessment course and uses these skills as part of their daily role (and is accountable for the findings). Students will also need the support of their line manager.




Katherine James

Senior Lecturer

Katherine's profile

How to apply



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