Course Outline

SPX306 Clinical Skills for Exercise Physiology

Course Coordinator:Grace Rose ( School:School of Health - Sports and Exercise Science

2023Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course is designed for Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology students to master clinical skills and competencies that are part of professional Exercise Physiology practice for cardiopulmonary, metabolic and musculoskeletal clients. You will learn point of care testing, cardiac electrocardiography and exercise assessments, pulmonary testing and interpretation, and clinical musculoskeletal assessments for range of motion and muscular strength. You will demonstrate competencies in clinical assessments which align with Exercise and Sports Science Australia accreditation requirements.   

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online materials presenting theoretical knowledge (pathophysiologies, pharmacology, professional association guidelines) and resources required to meet industry standards and external accreditation 1hr Week 1 13 times
Laboratory 1 – Blended learning including practical clinical skills and competencies, and simulated learning, required by the external accrediting organisation to meet professional standards. 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

  • Clinical assessments for point of care.
  • Case notes, patient history and risk stratification.
  • Clinical cardiovascular assessments and exercise protocols.
  • Recognition and interpretation of electrocardiography abnormalities at rest and during exercise.
  • Conducting clinical lung function testing.
  • Interpretation of spirometry.
  • Recognition of adverse pulmonary clinical signs and symptoms.
  • Clinical musculoskeletal assessments (palpation, range of motion, goniometry, manual muscle testing)

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Conduct pre-test procedures and a variety of sub-maximal clinical exercise test protocols (including ECG & Spirometry), record and interpret client data and use laboratory equipment in a clinical setting. Knowledgeable
2 Identify and explain the pharmacological effects and interactions of medication with exercise Knowledgeable
3 Recognise and interpret cardiac dysrhythmias and other abnormal ECG morphologies in a clinical setting. Knowledgeable
4 Identify main joints and muscle groups using surface anatomy (palpation) to conduct musculoskeletal assessments for range of motion and muscular strength Knowledgeable
5 Apply clinical reasoning skills to a case study and under examination conditions. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


SPX211 and HLT221 and SPX201 and enrolled in Program SC304


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Weekly online quizzes and case scenarios will be provided as assisted learning and non-formal assessment each week so that students can work through these resources at their own pace through the semester. These resources will provide additional learning and feedback as assistance for the practical and written examinations. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Practical / Laboratory Skills Group 30%
1 hour
Refer to Format In Class
All 2 Practical / Laboratory Skills Individual 30%
Weeks 1 - 13
Week 13 In Class
All 3 Examination - Centrally Scheduled Individual 40%
2 hours
Exam Period Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Practical Examination – group cardiac exercise test, case study-based
The goal of this group assessment task is to conduct pre-test procedures (including ECG), record and interpret client data and demonstrate competency with a sub-maximal exercise test, use laboratory equipment and apply clinical reasoning skills for a specific case.
Product: Practical / Laboratory Skills
Submit: Week 7 or 8. 

Completed practical examination based on a provided cardiac case study in a group. You will be provided with a case study one week in advance of the practical examination. The practical exam will be of 1-hour duration. Case studies will include conditions such as coronary artery disease, post-myocardial infarction and atherosclerosis. One student will be selected by the supervisor immediately prior to the practical exam, to be the “client”, and the other group members will be assigned roles to conduct the exercise test. The group will also answer specific questions relevant to their case. Students will be allowed to bring notes into the laboratory.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Knowledge of the pathophysiology of the specific cardiac condition in the case study
1 2 5
Application of clinical reasoning skills to discuss the case and to make appropriate choices of clinical skills to test the “client”
1 2 3 5
Identification and explanation of the “client” medications and their interaction with exercise, if any
Explanation of signs and symptoms associated with sub-maximal exercise testing of a cardiac client, and when termination of an exercise test might be necessary
1 3 5
Measurement and recording of “client” details, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation at rest and during exercise
1 2 3
Analysis and Interpretation of 12-lead ECG during an exercise test
1 3
Correct use of clinical exercise equipment
1 3 5
All - Assessment Task 2:Clinical competency checklist portfolio
The goal of the clinical competency checklist portfolio is to demonstrate competency in selected cardio-pulmonary and musculoskeletal practical skills relevant to clinical exercise physiology as outlined by ESSA.
Product: Practical / Laboratory Skills
Completed sections of the skills competency checklist to be submitted in Week 13. The skills competency checklist can be found on the course Canvas site. You will complete this assessment task as an individual with the laboratory supervisor’s signature and comments as evidence of completion of this assessment item. It is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate the applicable competencies to the supervisor over the course of the semester so that the completed competencies are listed in the final portfolio.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Measurement of resting and exercise blood pressure, perceived exertion and oxygen saturation.
1 3 5
Demonstration of a sub-maximal treadmill and cycle graded exercise test.
1 3
Measurement of range of motion of the ankle, knee, hip, trunk and shoulder joints using a goniometer.
Grading of strength using manual muscle testing for the lower and upper limbs.
Conducting a posture, balance and gait assessment
Conduction of a lung function test using a spirometer
All - Assessment Task 3:Written examination
To demonstrate understanding of the cardiac, pulmonary and metabolic pathophysiologies that are part of AEP scope of practice, and to demonstrate understanding of risks and contraindications for clinical exercise testing.
Product: Examination - Centrally Scheduled
The examination will be conducted during a 2-hour final central examination period. The exam will contain multiple choice and short answer questions. Students are expected to make themselves available during this exam period.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Understanding of client screening and risk assessment procedures; cardiopulmonary medications, side effects and interactions; electrocardiography
1 2 3 5
Identification of abnormal ECG morphologies; identification and interpretation of spirometry test measures
1 3
Contraindications for exercise testing and test termination criteria; normal and abnormal values for joint range of motion
1 3 4
Categorical grading of manual muscle testing

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required American College of Sports Medicine 2021 Acsm Guideline Exercise Test Pres 11 11th edition Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
Required Hazel Clarkson 2019 Musculoskeletal Assessment 4 LWW

Specific requirements

We recommend that students purchase their own blood pressure cuff and stethoscope; a fingertip pulse oximeter; one small and one medium size goniometer.

There are some inherent requirements in this course that are aligned with the profession of Clinical Exercise Physiology, and that are expected competencies outlined by ESSA. In this course, you may voluntarily take part in practical exercise physiology and exercise science activities which may include: completion of risk assessment/screening tools including the divulging of some personal information; undertaking sub-maximal exercise tests; physical contact with other students; partial disrobing for clinical test measurements or surface anatomy palpation; the wearing of specialist sports clothing; the use of sports and diagnostic equipment. It is imperative that if you do not wish, or cannot, take part in any activity, that you make this known to the Course Coordinator, lecturer and laboratory supervisor/demonstrator before opting out of the activity.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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