Musculoskeletal assessment, diagnosis and management for First Contact Practice

Key Information

Programme Type

Short Course


Blended learning


30 PG Credit



Next Start Date

January 2025

Course Overview

This course aims to enable students to develop their own professional practice by exploring Musculoskeletal complaints. The course will consider both acute and chronic presentations, the range of investigations required for accurate diagnosis, and the approaches to chronic pain including associated medication.

Course content has been designed has been designed to meet the needs of registered and practicing professionals such as nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and radiographers.

Key Features

Aligned with NHS career framework

Part Time

Cross discipline

Designed for practitioners

A row of empty hospital beds

How You Study

Teaching on this course is primarily delivered through a blended learning approach. Key concepts will be introduced through seminar work, recorded presentations, and directed reading. Leaning will also take place in the practice environment with the development of a practice portfolio.

As part of the course you may have the opportunity to learn in paired and small group working.

You will also be provided additional support through the University's Virtual Learning Environment, which provides access to additional reading resources.

This module will aim to cover three themes:

- Multisystem assessment relevant to musculoskeletal practice, including cardiac, vascular, neurological, respiratory, GI, and GU
- Exploring different assessment and clinical reasoning approaches and tools, including outcome measures
- Justifying the use of further investigations, including MRI, Ultrasound, X-Ray, CT, NCS, and blood tests and responding appropriately to the results in the context of the individual and the evidence base

- Use information gathered from different sources to come to a range of differential diagnosis
- Decide upon likely diagnosis and common diagnostic errors
- Consider both musculoskeletal causes and conditions that masquerade as musculoskeletal problems, including red flags

- Develop advanced clinical reasoning relevant to musculoskeletal practice
- Demonstrate shared decision making, utilising advanced communication skills and making management decisions individualised to patients
- Identification of potential red flags and knowledge of action to be taken and local pathways
- Knowledge of common elective orthopaedic surgery with indications and contraindications, taking into account NICE guidelines, pathways, and CCG criteria
- Knowledge of types and application of rehabilitation in the management of musculoskeletal conditions

How you are assessed

On this course, formative assessments will take place in the form of OSCE attempts, and a there will be a two part summative assessment which includes a 3,000 word care study and an in class test.

You will also undertake assessment in practice, where you will require a practice supervisor who in the case of primary care is either GP educational supervisor or HEE recognised roadmap supervisor. Alternatively, for secondary care you will need a medical consultant or suitably qualified MSK professional.

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From short courses and microcredentials, to professional development modules and fully online Master’s degrees, we offer a range of flexible programmes to suit your individual needs. Our suite of programmes uses a variety of delivery methods, including online-only, face-to-face, blended, and distance-learning approaches.

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