Adult Cardiac Assessment: an introduction


Earn a certificate of completion

Beginner level



Approximately 2 hours to complete


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About the course:

As part of this course there will be a series of resources for you to work through to enhance your knowledge and skills on how to undertake a cardiac assessment.

The overall aim is to provide the learner with an introduction of how to undertake a cardiac assessment on an adult. The course provides an introduction to some of the skills which are related to cardiac assessment, to include pulse assessment, locating and palpating the apical impulse, 3 and 5 lead cardiac monitoring, undertaking a 12 lead ECG, and basic heart sounds. You will also observe a holistic cardiac assessment of a patient with a chronic long term condition in a community setting. procedure guidelines form a core part of the materials for this module and therefore you must ensure you can access this with either your personal login or via institutional access.

  • The first part of this module will be made up of independent reading, activities, and a standardised quiz accessed via
  • The second part will include watching a video of a holistic cardiac assessment of a patient living with a chronic long term in the community.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the component parts of a cardiovascular assessment to include history taking, inspection, palpation and auscultation.
  • Identify the stages of the cardiac cycle and consider how this relates to a cardiovascular assessment.
  • Outline the location of different pulse points and the process for undertaking an accurate pulse assessment.
  • Consider when cardiac monitoring may be used for a patient and how the clinician might apply this.
  • Describe why a 12 lead Electrocardiogram (ECG) might be used in practice and how to undertake the procedure of recording one for a patient.
  • Identify how to undertake cardiac auscultation and what these sounds represent in relation to the cardiac cycle.

This course is aimed at pre-registration student nurses in the first or second year of their programme. While this course provides an introduction to the knowledge of the procedures associated with cardiac assessment, remember to always work within your own scope of practice under the supervision of a competent clinician who is able to guide your practice in line with local or institutional policies and procedures.

About the author:

Lorraine Whatley

Lorraine Whatley

Senior Lecturer - Professional Practice Skills and Development | Oxford Brookes University

I have been working as a registered adult nurse since my graduation from Southampton University in 2004. My background is intensive care nursing and I have worked in the Adult, Neuro and Cardiac Intensive Care Units at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I completed my specialist course in Intensive Care Nursing at Oxford Brookes University in 2009.

My most recent position, prior to my lecturing role, was as a Clinical Educator on the Cardiac and Thoracic Critical Care Unit in Oxford. I have always had an active interest in education and have been working as an Associate Lecturer for Oxford Brookes since 2013. I have completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Professional Education, allowing me to register with the NMC as a teacher, and I currently hold an MSc in the same area.

I also have a keen interest in teaching resuscitation, I am an Advanced Life Support instructor for the Resuscitation Council UK. I also work clinically as a Resuscitation Officer for Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

This module has been informed by work from Anne Taylor and Wilf Standhaft who are both Teaching Fellows at Oxford Brookes University.

Course design:

Florin Ivan

Florin Ivan

Project Manager, Learning Hub | King's Health Partners

Cost: £0.00