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  1. Continuing Professional Development
Study at City

Clinical Observations and Recognizing a Deteriorating Patient City Health

Key information

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Course code:
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Application deadline:
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Delivery of this module will be online due to government-issued guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic and may be made available face-to-face subject to Public Health England recommendations. Please submit your application and, once reviewed by the module leader, you will receive more specific information about the online delivery of your module and assessments.

Course overview

This half-day course is intended to be an introduction or an update for staff working as Health Care Support Workers (HCSW's) in a care setting. It has been developed in response to reports which suggest that although HCSW's spend more time at the bedside than registered nurses, they receive significantly less training, education and supervision.

The study session will ensure that you have an understanding of the importance and implications of clinical observations, when they are abnormal and how to respond appropriately.

It will enhance the care you are able to deliver by ensuring your skills and knowledge is maintained, developed and up to date. You will receive a certificate of attendance from City, University of London.

Course outcomes

Course outcomes

  • An overview of healthcare provision in hospitals and the current situation around HCSW-administered care
  • An introduction to the National Early Warning System (NEWS) and how it is used to enhance patient care
  • The importance of clinical observations, and of doing them in a timely and appropriate manner
  • Using the "Why, When, How, What, Where" approach (based on the RCN's First Steps programme) the following clinical observations will be discussed:
    • Respiratory rate
    • Heart rate
    • Blood pressure
    • Oxygen saturation
    • Temperature
    • Level of consciousness (including GCS and AVPU)
    • Capillary refill
    • Oxygen therapy
    • Peak flow
    • Urinalysis
    • Fluid balance
    • Body Mass Index
  • The implications of abnormal observations, which may indicate a deteriorating patient, and the appropriate course of action
  • An overview of common conditions (COPD, asthma and diabetes) and how they affect a patient's state of health
  • An brief discussion about shock (hypovolaemic and anaphylactic), its causes, presentation and treatment
  • The implications of how certain drugs can affect clinical observations
  • Accountability, responsibility, documentation and the HCSW Code of Conduct
  • Implications for the future, including the Francis Report and the Cavendish Review.



Prerequisite knowledge

Staff working as Health Care Support Workers (HCSW's).

English requirements

Applicants must be proficient in spoken and written English.



There is no formal assessment for the delegates on this day but the day will be evaluated and your comments will be received with thanks.