Module information

Module details

Introduction to Healthcare Science, Professional Practice and Clinical Leadership
Module code

Aim of this module

The overall aim of this introductory module is to provide all trainees with a broad knowledge and understanding of science and scientific knowledge, contextualised to the practice of healthcare science and the services provided by their healthcare science division/specialism. Central to this is the contribution of healthcare science to patient care, patient safety, service delivery, research and innovation, often at the cutting edge of science, for example genomics and bioinformatics. Each trainee must have the underpinning knowledge and apply this and the accompanying skills and attitudes to work as a healthcare scientist in accordance with Good Scientific Practice (GSP).  All members of the healthcare science workforce must understand the impact of their work on patients and patient care and remember that their work has a direct or indirect impact on patient care.

As an introductory module it is expected to provide an overview and reinforcement of key concepts with respect to the organisation, structure and function of the body, and important areas such as the psychosocial aspects of health and disease, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, genomics and bioinformatics. A major focus of this module is professional practice. GSP sets out the principles and values on which the practice of Healthcare Science is undertaken. It sets out for the profession and the public the standards of behaviour and practice that must be achieved and maintained in the delivery of work activities and the provision of care. This module encompasses the knowledge, skills, experience and attitudes across four of the five domains of Good Scientific Practice, namely Professional Practice, Scientific Practice, Clinical Practice, Research and Development, and Clinical Leadership, but all other modules within this programme will contribute to embedding professional practice at the centre of the work of each trainee.This module will introduce and critically review the frameworks and academic literature underpinning professional practice and enable trainees to gain the knowledge, skills, experience and tools to develop, improve and maintain high standards of professional practice at all times.

Work-based content


# Learning outcome Competency Action
# 1 Learning outcome 1 Competency

Treat each patient as an individual, respecting their dignity and confidentiality and upholding the rights, values and autonomy of every service user.

Action View
# 2 Learning outcome 1 Competency

Discuss personal values, principles and assumptions, emotions and prejudices, and how these may influence personal judgement and behaviour, and identify how you will practise in accordance with Good Scientific Practice.

Action View
# 3 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Communicate effectively with the public, services users and other healthcare professionals, adapting communication style and language to meet the needs of listeners.

Action View
# 4 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Give and receive feedback sensitively to or from a peer or colleague.

Action View
# 5 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Obtain, analyse and act on feedback from a variety of sources and use it to consider personal impact and change behaviour.

Action View
# 6 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Present complex ideas in understandable terms in both oral and written formats.

Action View
# 7 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Use effective negotiation skills, including influencing colleagues.

Action View
# 8 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Work constructively and effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team.

Action View
# 9 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Comply with relevant guidance and laws, to include those relating to:

  • your scope of practice
  • research ethics and governance
  • patient confidentiality
  • data protection
  • equality and diversity
  • use of chaperones
  • informed consent.
Action View
# 10 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Contribute to the education and training of colleagues.

Action View
# 11 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Take responsibility for your learning and demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development.

Action View
# 12 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Meet commitments and goals in your professional practice, using a range of organisational and planning tools.

Action View
# 13 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Reflect on your practice and generate a reflective diary that demonstrates how you utilise the skills required of an independent learner and your commitment to your continuing professional development.

Action View
# 14 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Take responsibility for keeping your professional and scientific knowledge and skills up to date.

Action View
# 15 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Use a range of information and communication technologies within the workplace for service delivery, research, audit and innovation, including data filing and archiving:

  • word processing
  • databases
  • statistics packages
  • PowerPoint
  • internet
  • email.
Action View
# 16 Learning outcome 6 Competency

Under supervision, demonstrate that you can obtain and present a patient history from a normal volunteer or consenting patient in order to better understand the clinical decision-making process in your clinical practice.

Action View
# 17 Learning outcome 7 Competency

Apply current regulations with respect to patient safety and safe systems within the workplace. To include, as appropriate to scope of practice:

  • risk management
  • biological specimen handling
  • radioactivity
  • fire safety
  • electrical safety
  • moving and handling
  • display screen equipment
  • incident reporting
  • infection control.


Action View
# 18 Learning outcome 7 Competency

Use clinical coding and medical terminology in accordance with stated guidance, as appropriate to scope of practice.

Action View
# 19 Learning outcome 7 Competency

Keep accurate records in accordance with current guidelines and the legal framework for data security.

Action View
# 20 Learning outcome 7 Competency

Use, in your practice:

  • standard operating procedures
  • protocols
  • clinical guidelines.
Action View
# 21 Learning outcome 7 Competency

Continuously improve your practice through good practice in:

  • identifying common sources of error
  • identification of risk
  • reporting critical incidents.
Action View
# 22 Learning outcome 8,9 Competency

Participate in innovation, research, service development and audit activities complying with guidance and laws relating to research ethics.

Action View
# 23 Learning outcome 8,9 Competency

Contribute to service and quality improvement and productivity in the work base and embed evidence-based developments within routine practice.

Action View
# 24 Learning outcome 8,9 Competency

Undertake a literature review and prepare and present to peers a critical analysis of a publication from the scientific literature.

Action View
# 25 Learning outcome 8,9 Competency

Prepare and deliver an oral scientific communication to peers at a local, national or international meeting.

Action View
# 26 Learning outcome 10 Competency

Lead in your clinical role through appropriate application of:

  • self-management
  • self-development
  • integrity
  • self-direction
  • problem solving
  • dealing with complex issues
  • making sound judgements in the absence of complete data.
Action View
# 27 Learning outcome 10 Competency

Identify potential areas for change and accept change identified by others, working across different provider landscapes as required.

Action View
# 28 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Develop an action plan based on your experiential learning and reflection on completion of the Scientist Training Programme.

Action View



This module has no work-based assessments.

Learning outcomes

Professional Practice

1. Place the patient at the centre of care in daily practice, ensuring the needs of patients are respected.

2. Communicate with patients, relatives, service users, other healthcare professionals, colleagues and the public with respect, empathy and sensitivity, including listening, speaking, giving and receiving information, giving and receiving feedback.

3. Respond to the ethical and legal issues and challenges arising from the practice of Healthcare Science.

4. Demonstrate a commitment to the continuing professional development of themselves and others, and attend professional meetings. 

Clinical Practice

5. Make appropriate and effective use of information and communication technology.

6. Under supervision, obtain a patient history from a normal volunteer or typical patient referred to your service and present the findings to a colleague or peer in order to understand the clinical decision-making process in clinical practice.

7. Promote the importance of patient safety and general health, safety and security in the workplace, including infection control and information governance. 

Research, Development and Innovation

8. Apply knowledge, skills and experience of research, development and innovation appropriate to the role in order to identify effectively actions that will improve service provision.

9. Engage in evidence-based practice, participate in audit procedures and critically search for, appraise and identify innovative approaches to practice and delivery. 

Clinical Leadership

10. Demonstrate a range of leaderships skills required of an emerging leader within Healthcare Science.

Academic content (MSc in Clinical Science)

Important information

The academic parts of this module will be detailed and communicated to you by your university. Please contact them if you have questions regarding this module and its assessments. The module titles in your MSc may not be exactly identical to the work-based modules shown in the e-portfolio. Your modules will be aligned, however, to ensure that your academic and work-based learning are complimentary.

Learning outcomes

Scientific Basis of Healthcare Science

1. Describe the cellular, tissue and systems responses to disease and discuss those body systems and processes relative to your division/specialism.

2. Explain the main principles and core concepts of clinical genetics and genomics and discuss in the context of patients referred to services provided by your division/specialism.

3. Explain the main principles and core concepts of the sociology of health and illness and discuss those relevant to patients and the role of your division/specialism.

4. Explain the basis of epidemiology, public health and health protection and discuss in relation to patients and the safety of patients referred to services provided by your division/specialism.

5. Explain the basic principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics and discuss in relation to patients and the safety of patients referred to services provided by your division/specialism.

6. Explain the basic principles of physics that underpin healthcare science and discuss in relation to patients and the safety of patients referred to services provided by your division/specialism.

7. Discuss and justify how bioinformatics, including large biological datasets, contributes to patient safety, patient care and the practice of healthcare science and defend the governance and ethical frameworks within which bioinformatics can be used.


Professional Practice

8. Discuss and appraise the ethical foundations of professionalism, including critical reflection, and how these relate to the clinical scientist, the patient, the practice of healthcare science and the wider healthcare environment.

9. Explain and critically evaluate the structures, processes and methodologies that underpin the quality of the service provided by the NHS and quality improvement initiatives to promote high-quality patient care and enhance patient safety, and discuss the quality mechanisms relevant to your division/specialism.

10. Explain the principles of effective written and verbal communication and feedback, considering the needs and dignity of patients, the public, health professionals and scientists.

11. Describe and evaluate the basic principles and structures underpinning history taking, clinical examination and clinical decision making and discuss their role in your division.


Clinical Leadership

12. Discuss, compare and contrast a range of leadership models, including those that underpin current NHS Leadership and Competency Frameworks, and identify and critically evaluate how your personal values, principles and assumptions affect your personal leadership style.

13. Explain the current structure and management of health and social care systems and services at a national (UK-wide) and local level and the way in which the voice of patients and the public is embedded in all aspects of healthcare and healthcare education.

Indicative content

Review of the organisation, structure and function of the body

  • Chemical, cellular and tissue level of organisation of the body
  • Metabolism
  • Function of blood as a tissue, blood cells (types and life times)
  • Anatomy and physiology:
    • skin
    • skeletal system
    • respiratory system
      • ventilation
      • gas exchange
      • blood gas transport
    • heart, blood vessels and lymphatic system
  • Central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system
  • Vision, hearing and equilibrium
  • GI tract, including digestion and absorption of food, the liver and liver function tests
  • Renal system
  • Endocrine system
  • Electrolyte and acid-base balance
  • Hormonal mechanisms and control
  • Abdomen, pelvis and perineum, including male and female reproductive tract 

Review of pathophysiology: cellular, tissue and systems responses to disease

  • Review of the pathological processes underpinning common diseases:
    • cell death
    • inflammation
    • neoplasia
    • hypertrophy
    • hyperplasia
    • tissue response to injury and repair


Introduction to the main principles and core concepts of clinical genetics and genomics

  • Meiosis and Mendelian inheritance
  • Nucleic acid structure and function
  • Chromosome structure and function
  • Nomenclature used to describe the human genome
  • Common genetic disorders
  • Impact of genetic disorders on the patient and their families
  • Genomic technology and role of the genome in the development and treatment of disease 

Introduction to sociology of health and illness

  • Factors affecting health and their contribution to inequalities in health between populations
  • Basis of health protection, including principles of surveillance
  • Patients’ responses to illness and treatment, including the impact of psychological and social factors including culture, on health and health- related behaviour
  • Health belief models
  • Diversity of the patient experience
  • Disability, including learning disabilities
  • Potential health inequalities
  • Self-care
  • Impact of life-threatening and critical conditions
  • Patient involvement in decisions regarding their healthcare 

Introduction to epidemiology, public health and health protection

  • Health and disease in population terms
  • The importance of population factors in individual health/disease processes
  • Data interpretation, including the variability of biological data and application of statistics
  • Investigating disease, epidemiology and natural history, including mathematical modelling
  • Role of local, national and international bodies associated with health protection
  • Principles of surveillance, the characteristics of different surveillance systems and key current policies and programmes used to protect health
  • Screening programmes, including design, strengths and weaknesses 

Introduction to clinical pharmacology and therapeutics

  • Overview of the basic principles of pharmacokinetics
  • Overview of the basics of drug metabolism and excretion
  • Basic mechanisms and clinical importance of drug interactions 

Basic principles of physics underpinning common measurement techniques used in healthcare science

  • Structure of matter (atomic and nuclear models)
  • Radiation: nature and its measurement and radiation safety
  • Physics and mathematics of image formation
  • Basic electricity and magnetism as it relates to the measurement of physiological signals
  • Viscous and inertial flow of simple liquids 

Ethical foundations of professionalism and the patient at the centre of care

  • Defining professionalism within health and healthcare science
  • Characteristics (personal traits) that impact on professionalism and professional practice in the workplace
  • Ethical, legal and governance requirements arising from working at the level of the Clinical Scientist
  • Critical Reflective Practice
    • Evidence base
    • Reflection as a structure for learning
    • Frameworks that support critical reflective practice
    • Reflection to improve professional practice
    • Reflection as a model for developing deep learning
    • Reflection as a means of improving patient care, service delivery and scientific investigation 

Introduction to quality, quality improvement

  • Patient safety
  • Definition of terms
  • Quality management
  • Quality control
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality improvement
  • Quality methodologies
  • Quality processes and procedures
  • Clinical governance
  • Current NHS quality management and improvement systems
  • Quality assurance to protect patients and assure high-quality healthcare science services, and deliver safe and effective services 

Introduction to history taking, clinical examination

  • Importance of patient-centred care, treating patients with respect, honesty and compassion, maintaining patient dignity and confidentiality and putting the patient first
  • Duty of candour and the importance of this in healthcare
  • Informed consent
    • Principles, guidance and law with respect to informed consent
    • Introduction to the patient, including role of the Clinical Scientist
    • Explanation to the patient
  • Structured models for presenting a patient history
  • Process of patient-centred interviewing and the features of a good consultation
    • Initiating the session
    • Gathering information
    • Building the relationship
    • Explaining and planning
    • Closing the session
  • Link between the patient history and examination and development of clinical investigation and management plans
  • Shared clinical decision making
  • How information from a history and examination is used to develop clinical management plans 

Introduction to communication skills

  • Principles of effective communication, including:
    • written and electronic
    • verbal
    • non-verbal
  • Importance of:
    • signposting
    • listening
    • paraphrasing
    • language
    • commonly used questioning techniques
    • non-verbal behaviour
    • ideas
    • beliefs
    • concerns
    • expectations
    • summarising
    • communication
  • Range of question types that can be used in a communication
  • Key features of effective patient interviews and information giving
  • Adapting communication methods for people/groups/culture
  • Feedback
    • The role of feedback in clinical education and continuing professional development
    • Feedback models
    • Characteristics of effective feedback 

Introduction to leadership within the NHS

  • Theories and models of leadership
  • Concept of shared leadership
  • Associated personal qualities and behaviours that promote shared leadership
  • Overview of the NHS Leadership Framework and Clinical Leadership Competency 

Introduction to the structure of the NHS

  • Structure of the NHS across the four UK countries
    • Structure
    • Accountabilities
    • Funding arrangements
    • Working relationships
  • NHS Constitution
    • The seven key principles that guide the NHS in all it does
    • NHS Values
      • Respect and dignity
      • Commitment to quality of care
      • Compassion
      • Improving lives
      • Working together for patients
      • Everyone counts
  • Quality improvement structures and processes within the NHS
  • Patient safety and the requirement to protect patients from avoidable harm
  • Patient focus
    • Shared decision making with patients
    • Access to information
    • Choice
    • Personalised care
    • Safeguarding patients

Clinical experiences

Important information

Clinical experiential learning is the range of activities trainees may undertake in order to gain the experience and evidence to demonstrate their achievement of module competencies and assessments. The list is not definitive or mandatory, but training officers should ensure, as best training practice, that trainees gain as many of these clinical experiences as possible. They should be included in training plans, and once undertaken they should support the completion of module assessments and competencies within the e-portfolio.


  • Attend clinics, ward rounds, treatment and/or rehabilitation sessions, etc., in primary or secondary care, or in the charity or voluntary sector where patients attend, and observe how patient–professional relationships are developed and maintained, and reflect on how the following impact on the patient–professional relationship:
    • response to illness
    • patient and carer perspective
    • health belief models
    • diversity of the patient experience
    • disability, including learning disabilities
    • potential health inequalities
    • self-care
    • impact of life-threatening and critical conditions
    • patient involvement in decisions regarding their
  • Observe a current screening programme in the workplace and discuss the principles and practice of screening programmes in healthcare as a means of reducing disease burden with your training officer.
  • Observe and participate in internally and externally accredited quality management systems and critically appraise both in your area of practice.