MSc Advanced Leadership for Professional Practice (Nursing)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Advanced Decision Making in Professional Practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS60055
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit provides strategies to assist translating evidence from research into decision making for 
professional practice. It will introduce you to a variety of theoretical approaches to the 
study of decision making in health and social care, as well as encouraging you to focus on how to translate these into your practice.


  • Develop students’ understanding of underpinning theories of decision making, including how decisions are made in health and social care settings and why decision making goes wrong
  • Facilitate students to critically examine their decision making in a variety of situations
  • Critically examine different strategies for introducing evidence from research explicitly into decision making
  • Develop students’ understanding of how technology can be used to inform decision making
  • Enhance knowledge and skills to include patients, service users and their families in the decision making process.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Critically examine the main theoretical approaches to decision making and how they relate to health and social care practice
  • Critically evaluate the nature of judgement and decisions, examining the potential for human error and bias
  • Critically analyse the complexity and uncertainty associated with judgements and decisions in health and social care settings
  • Evaluate strategies for including research evidence into judgements and decisions, including the application of Bayes theorem and decision analysis to decision situations
  • Critically analyse how technology systems can be used to support decision making, and their problems and pitfalls
  • Critically evaluate the role of patients, service users, their families and carers in the decision making process and explore strategies for enhancing shared decision making


Intellectual skills

  • Explore and critically evaluate how decisions could be supported more effectively in health and social care settings

Practical skills

  • Apply a variety of different approaches to decision making, depending on the context, to develop safe and effective health and social care practice

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Evaluate own approaches to decision making, developing understanding and awareness of situations where errors could occur
  • Systematically evaluate evidence and use it effectively to inform decision making and professional practice
  • Use logical and systematic approaches to decision making, where appropriate
  • Effectively use information technology/health informatics to support decision making

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all postgraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 42
Tutorials 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 106

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Dawn Dowding Unit coordinator

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