BNurs Mental Health Nursing / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Nurse as an Inquirer of Clinical Evidence

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS31360
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit provides students with the skills to appraise different types of scientific evidence and a variety of research methodologies and to articulate the utility, strengths and weaknesses of these in relation to evidence based practice. 

These skills will then be applied through the development of a 4000 annotated bibliography.


This unit aims to:

  • Provide students with an opportunity to pursue a topic of professional interest in some depth from a research-based perspective
  • Enable students to demonstrate a depth and breadth of reading, critical evaluation and synthesis of assumptions, research methods and theoretical positions in the literature related to their chosen topic.
  • Assist students to develop their research literacy skills and enhance their applicability of research for evidence based practice
  • Provide students with the opportunity to develop an annotated bibliography using appropriate literature and data sources

Learning outcomes

Each learning outcome is linked to the newly agreed NMC (2018) Standards of Proficiency Platforms 

Teaching and learning methods

Learning outcomes including alignment of teaching methods and assessment;


  • Update library skills for using electronic databases and searching; students will engage in interactive online activities to assist them to develop and refine their searching skills and use of electronic databases.  A8 D1 D3
  • Develop and undertake a focussed search strategy and understand the importance of this; students will provide a 500 word outline of a search strategy related to their topic of choice. Students will have undertaken online activities and a tutorial related to searching for evidence. A8 D1 D2 D3
  • Critically interpret the role of different types of evidence; students will be able to determine the quality and role of different types of evidence, using tools to undertake this and will demonstrate this in the literature review by critique and synthesis of the evidence used. Students will undertake online activities and a tutorial to explore the different types of evidence and how this can be appraised. A8 B1 B3 B6 C2 D1 D2 D3
  • Write a critical review of the evidence in a logical and articulate manner; students will write a 5,000 word critical review of the literature relating to a field specific topic of personal interest in a format that would enable clinical peers to understand. Students will undertake online activities and have a tutorial relating to writing critically. A3 A8 B1 B2 B3 B4 B7 C2 D1 D2 D3
  • Reflect on the role of a nurse as an enquirer of clinical evidence; students will include a written section within the conclusion of their review about how nursing practice could be informed following the critical review of the evidence. Students will undertake online activities and a tutorial about how clinical practice can be informed using evidence. A3 A8 B1 B2 B4 B6 B7 C2 C4 D1 D2 D3

Team-Based Learning

This is a “flipped classroom” approach in which students are provided with materials to read or watch in advance of the in-person sessions. On campus sessions are a combination of whole group “Readiness Assurance” sessions, followed by field-specific “Application Exercises”.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of health and social care philosophy and policy, and its translation into ethical and evidence based nursing practice (1.1, 1.2)
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively retrieve and appraise a range of data/information that underpins and informs the evidence base for nursing practice with specific reference to their own field of practice (1.7)

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate a coherent understanding of the key aspects of nursing practice through critical analysis and synthesis of information/data from a wide range of sources, at least some of which is at the forefront of the discipline of their own field of practice (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)
  • Critically apply the knowledge and understanding outlined above (in A1 – A2) to the management and delivery of competent nursing care in a variety of clinical practice settings and across the patient/client dependency continuum (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)
  • Critically appraise the evidence base for nursing interventions and consider strategies for further research and/or practice development with specific reference to their own field of practice (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)
  • Demonstrate sound decision making, clinical judgement and problem solving capability across a range of professional and care delivery contexts (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)
  • Critically reflect on their own professional development to identify abilities, limitations and opportunities to improve  their nursing practice (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)
  • Act with professional integrity, demonstrating fitness to practice, purpose and achievement of the NMC (2018) standards for pre –registration nursing (1.8, 1.20)

Practical skills

  • Undertake procedures for planning, provision and management of person centered nursing care using evidence based best practice approaches (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)
  • Facilitate learning amongst peers, colleagues and service users (1.7, 1.8, 1.20)

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate logical and systematic thinking and the ability to draw reasoned conclusions and sustainable judgements strategies to improve these (1.7, 1.15)
  • Manage both independent study and the demands of professional practice effectively (1.16)
  • Demonstrate effective use of information technology, library, electronic and online resources to enable effective engagement with the programme and to develop fundamental skills for life-long learning

Assessment methods

Summative - A 4000 word critical annotated bibliography on an aspect of nursing. The student will be free to choose the topic area but must identify an answerable question and identify a clinical problem. The use of the annotated bibliography enables students to demonstrate how they have critically appraised the sources used and how they are able to write this information in a logical and articulate bibliography which could be used to inform nursing practice. The unit aims and intended learning outcomes are aligned with the learning methods and the assessment. There are two formative assessment opportunities: (1) Submission of the clinical problem/topic/question (2) Literature search strategy and/or sample annotation.

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, online drop in sessions and a MS Teams channel. Online feedback is provided in Cadmus. 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 is utilised across all undergraduate 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 MS Teams in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading


Books / Journals

Aveyard H (2014) Doing a literature review in health and social care, a practical guide (3rd Edition). Open University Press.

Coughlan M, Cronin P and Ryan F (2017) Doing a Literature Review in Nursing, Health and Social Care (2nd Ed). London, Sage Publications.

Harvey M and Land L (2017) Research Methods for Nurse and Midwives. Theory and Practice. London. Sage.

Moule P, Aveyard H and Goodman M (2017) Nursing Research an Introduction (3rd Edition). London. Sage.

Whittaker, A and Williamson, GR. (2017) Succeeding in Literature Reviews and Research Project Plans for Nursing Students. Third edition. Exeter, Learning Matters Limited.


CASP (Critical Appraisal Skills Programme) quality appraisal forms (checklists) -

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine - Oxford

TRIP database Liberating the Literature


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 4
Seminars 12
Tutorials 9
Independent study hours
Independent study 175

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Florian Walter Unit coordinator

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