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NURS405 Health Assessment and Advanced Nursing Practice

Enables the registered nurse to demonstrate health assessment knowledge and skills to meet the competencies required for advancing nursing practice. A period of mentored practice will integrate physical, psychosocial assessment and pathophysiology in the nurse’s specialty area.

NURS 405 is based around the competencies of advanced nursing practice (Nursing Council New Zealand):

  • Systematic health assessment.
  • Advanced nursing practice.
  • Ethics and law, communication and documentation.
  • Application of health assessment skills to individual nursing frameworks, and to the nurses clinical speciality.

Paper title Health Assessment and Advanced Nursing Practice
Paper code NURS405
Subject Nursing
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (Distance learning)
Semester 2 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,903.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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NURX 405
Limited to
MAdvNP, MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc

The applicant will:

  • Have registration as a nurse from a three-year programme or course, congruent with the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.
  • Hold a current Practising Certificate.
  • Have access to a clinical supervisor for 50 hours.
Teaching staff

Convenor: Raewyn Lesa

Paper Structure

This paper considers advanced health assessment across the life span, focusing specifically on:

  • Obtaining a health history.
  • Formulation of differential diagnoses.
  • Development of a plan of management.
Teaching Arrangements

This Distance Learning paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

Three study blocks: One 3-day block, two 2-day blocks.

Examination: 1-day Clinical examination (OSCE).

Attendance at all study block courses and exam is compulsory.

View more Timetable information.


Required: Bickley, L. S. (2020). Bates' guide to physical examination and history taking (13th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Students may use an earlier edition provided it is not more than five years old.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

The RN student will:

  1. Demonstrate competence in undertaking advanced health assessment relevant to patient presentation, across the life span.
  2. Integrate knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and advanced health assessment into specific area of nursing practice.
  3. Apply sound clinical reasoning, informed by current evidence, to interpret health assessment findings.
  4. Identify appropriate diagnostic tests and investigations, interpret and review results in a collaborative approach to determine action.
  5. Synthesise information from the health record and comprehensive assessment to develop provisional and differential diagnoses and health promotion consistent with scope of practice; consult appropriately.
  6. Obtain additional information to assess whether the therapeutic goals have been achieved by examining the health consumer, requesting investigations and interpreting the findings.
  7. Demonstrate application of the principles of cultural safety in nursing practice in alignment with the policies of the Nursing Council of New Zealand and the University's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

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This paper will be run in Christchurch and Dunedin.


2 SOAP write-ups 30%
Case study 40%
OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) 30%
Online learning modules, clinical contact record and clinical evaluation Terms

Further information

Administrator Client Services
Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 364 3852

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system