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Physical Assessment Skills for Mental Health Professionals Module

Module code MHR 3607                
Level Level 6
Start date September (MHR3607)
Method of delivery Online (via mixture of virtual classroom and blended activity where possible)
Credits 15
Fees See Fees and funding below
Course leader Herbert Mwebe


Enhance your knowledge and ability to assess and manage common physical health conditions in mental health service users through our short module course.

The course is designed for a wide range of practitioners including social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and registered nurses. We understand the needs and challenges for mental health practitioners working with clients in a wide range of settings. That is why we have developed this course to be beneficial for professionals from multiple backgrounds including nursing, counselling, volunteering, and the independent sector.

The course is designed to enable you to maintain your employment while studying. The modules are delivered through a series of lectures and workshops and the main aim is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to be able to identify, assess and manage common physical conditions in users of mental health services including referral pathways. It is expected that by the end of this course you will be able to assess the needs of a patient, including planning, implementing, and evaluating the care they receive.

The content is aimed at developing understanding of biosciences as applicable to mental health nursing, especially pathophysiology of diabetes, common respiratory disorders, disorders of the digestive system, cardiovascular complications, cardiometabolic risk management, physical health assessment, application of the NEWS 2 tool in mental health care settings.

An overview of current evidence, national guidelines, recommendations and frameworks e.g. NICE, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Care Quality Commission, Lester UK adaptation tool and others are explored on the course and evaluated to see how these inform practice to improve the parity of provision between physical and mental health care. You will develop crucial physical care skills that can be applied in a diverse range of mental healthcare settings.

Skills gained from this course will allow you to practice effectively in a range of different mental health settings and the specialist knowledge and skills acquired can increase your employment prospects.

You will be expected to engage in self-study in addition to the taught hours. Your individual achievement will be assessed through a written exam (38 MCQs and 2 structured case study questions). Successful completion of the module will allow you to obtain 15 credits at Level 6 which can be put towards further study.

Course content

This short course is devised to enable you to maintain your professional employment while studying by attending weekly study days at our London campus based in Hendon. Delivered over about a week you will be taught how to conduct assessments and monitoring of physical health needs of people suffering with mental illness.

Through a series of lectures and workshops you will explore the following topics and many others not listed below:

  • Epidemiology of the problem & review of literature of poor physical health in SMI
  • Pathology basics
  • Examine factors behind increased physical health issues in people with mental illness
  • Develop understanding of psychopharmacological interventions and monitoring of adverse effects associated with the use of psychotropic medications
  • Principles of physical assessment, including respiratory system and diseases (i.e. COPD); endocrine system and diseases (i.e. diabetes)
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Vital signs and observations – National Early Warning Score (NEWS 2)
  • Practical skills session on (Blood pressure, Temp, Peak flow, Urinalysis)
  • Weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and mental illness

Learning and teaching

The current COVID-19 situation and ongoing uncertainty and challenges surrounding social distancing rules has impacted on how we deliver learning and teaching. To this end, all our short courses, modules and programmes will be delivered this autumn onwards through a mix of online/virtual and face to face modes where possible.

Teaching methods on this course include PowerPoint presentations, seminar groups, student lead presentations, group work, practical skills, scenario-based teaching, use of digital technologies including videos, pre and post session work activities, formative multiple-choice quizzes, service user lead teaching sessions.


The student prepare and submit a narrated digital presentation based on a case study scenario examining the health and/social care needs presented in the case presentation.

Teaching dates

All days run from 9.00am to 4.30pm

Autumn term 2024 - MHR3607
24 September 2024
1 October 2024
8 October 2024
15 October 2024
22 October 2024
23 October 2024
29 October 2024
Formative submission:
11 November 2024
Summative submission:
30 November 2024

How to apply

To be eligible for this module, you must provide evidence of an ability to study at Level 6.

Apply for this module through our online application form.

Please note applications to this module will close 8 days before the module start date for all intakes (spring).

Fees and funding

The fees* below refer to the 2024/25 academic year unless otherwise stated.

Per credit: £63
15 credits: £945

*Course fees are subject to annual inflation.

There are several funding options available:

  • receiving course fees via CPPD contracts between NHS trusts and Middlesex University
  • paying your own fees
  • sponsorship by your employer (but not under a CPPD contract).

For more information for any of these options, including fee rates for self-funding/employer-sponsored students, please visit our dedicated funding page.

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