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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Nursing Studies

Undergraduate Course: Critical Appraisal of Practice (NUST10044)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFor the critical assessment of practice, the student will be required to identify an issue in practice, review the literature in the field, and to provide a reflective and critical account of their current observations in the practice area that is informed by the evidence base for practice.
Course description This course aims to enhance the student's abilities to be reflective and critical within a particular practice area or topic and to locate these reflections within both the practice and the evidence base.

Lectures, workshops and tutorials are structured to equip students with the skills to conduct a critical appraisal.

Skills include: identifying evidence, knowing what is evidence, research and audit, the quality improvement cycle, using critical appraisal in service delivery development, reviewing the literature, critically appraising the literature, identifying a topic for appraisal, negotiating access, writing critically and writing a lay summary.

The course requires information to be gathered from a healthcare setting in order to gain a view of current practice. This is explicitly not a form of research. Students will be supported to negotiate visits as required.

Students choosing this course may be offered topics or areas of nursing practice and practice links in the healthcare setting. These will be generated by partners from the service side and they may be in a range of topics. Other topics self selected by students are also possible dependent on the ability to negotiate service partner access and support. Students from the BN (Hons) programme may opt to take their honours placement in the relevant practice area to further consolidate their learning. The student's choice of subject will only be limited by the restrictions mentioned above. Ideally, it should reflect the student's clinical experience where relevant.

The critical appraisal should focus on an area of practice within the context of the current evidence base. Some suggestions of areas for review and offers of supervision from the service side and will be presented in the introductory sessions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Only open to Bachelor of Nursing students and those completing the BA Health Studies programme.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of evidence-based practice.
  2. Apply the principles of critical appraisal skills to a discrete problem or topic defined from or with a healthcare setting.
  3. Critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse a problem or topic from a healthcare setting and offer professional insights, interpretations and solutions to these problems and issues drawing on the evidence base.
  4. Communicate with colleagues in order to identify and critically reflect on a current practice issue.
  5. Exercise autonomy and initiative in working with colleagues in practice to gather information about the topic being appraised.
Reading List
*Indicates a key text / paper

Alfaro-Lefevre R. (2017) Critical thinking, clinical reasoning and clinical judgement: a practical approach Elsevier, Philadelphia
*Aveyard H. Sharp P. Woolliams M. (2015) Critical Thinking and Writing in Health and Social Care 2nd edn. OU Press Maidenhaed
Burnard P. Morrison P. Gluyas H. Nursing Research in Action: exploring understanding and developing skills Palgrave Macmillan
Chenail, R. J. (2011). "Learning to Appraise the Quality of Qualitative Research Articles: A Contextualized Learning Object for Constructing Knowledge." Qualitative Report 16(1): 236-248.
Cottrell S. (2017) Critical Thinking Skills: developing effective analysis and argument 3rd edn Palgrave Macmillan
Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) (2018) Making sense of evidence accessed 08/05/2018
Chatfield T. (2018) Critical Thinking Sage, London
Davis N. (2011) Reflection: looking backwards, moving forwards In: Davis N. Clark AC. O┬┐Brien M. Plaice C. Sumpton K. Waugh S. Learning skills for nursing students Learning Matters Exeter
Dixon-Woods, M., A. Sutton, et al. (2007). "Appraising qualitative research for inclusion in systematic reviews: A quantitative and qualitative comparison of three methods." Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 12(1): 42-47
Hamer S. Collinson G (2005) Achieving Evidence-Based Practice: A handbook for practitioners Elsevier Health Sciences
*Hill A. Spittlehouse C. (2009) What is critical appraisal ? Hayward Medical
Joann Briggs Institute (2018) Critical Appraisal Tools accessed 08/05/2018
Newell R. Burnard P. (2010) Research for Evidence-based Practice in Healthcare 2nd edn Wiley-Blackwell
Polit D. Beck C. (2017) Essentials of Nursing Research: Appraising Evidence for Nursing Practice Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
*Price B. Harrington A. (2016) Critical thinking and writing for nursing students 3rd Edn. Sage London
Spittlehouse, C., M. Acton, et al. (2000). "Introducing critical appraisal skills training in UK social services: Another link between health and social care?" Journal of Interprofessional Care 14(4): 397-404
Williamson GR. Whittaker A. (2017) Succeeding in Literature Reviews and Research Project Plans for Nursing Students Third Edition Sage Learning Matters Exeter
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will be facilitated to work independently and sustainably in developing their links with the healthcare setting. They will develop skills of critical appraisal and identify and analyse their own challenges.

Students will develop skills for research and enquiry and be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge

Key skills in searching for, evaluating and using information will be developed.

Through the collaboration with the healthcare setting and through the workshop teaching, students will be enabled to use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views when critically appraising the topic or issue.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sheila Rodgers
Course secretaryMiss Morven Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3972
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