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EXSC632 Clinical Assessment and Exercise for Neurological Conditions AND EXSC633 Lifestyle and Exercise Counselling AND EXSC635 Clinical Assessment and Exercise for Cardiopulmonary Conditions AND Either (EXSC634 Clinical Assessment and Exercise for Musculoskeletal Conditions of the Lower Limb OR EXSC639 Clinical Assessment and Exercise for Musculoskeletal Conditions of the Trunk and Upper Limb )

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Accredited Exercise Physiologist's (AEP's) adhere to professional standards to practice within the Australian healthcare system, underpinned by ethics, law and regulations. To promote the common good while practising safely and effectively across different domains of healthcare, practitioners must be capable of making decisions informed by healthcare ethics. In this unit, students will analyse the ethical and core legal responsibilities that face the AEP in a clinical setting. Emphasis is placed on understanding and applying ethical decision-making, risk management and legal compliance as it relates to exercise physiology practice. In particular, this unit provides a broad-based introduction to risk management and applied ethics in healthcare. For context, students will also be introduced to fundamental business principles specific to clinical healthcare environments and will integrate this knowledge during the management of a pop-up exercise physiology clinic throughout semester.

This transitional unit of study is placed deliberately between the earlier foundational units and subsequent clinical experience units. This unit aims to support exercise physiology student practitioners in the application of principles of risk management and healthcare ethics to specific issues arising in exercise physiology settings to promote the common good by serving the goals of healthcare practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Conceptualise principles of risk management informed by professional standards, laws and regulations to practice responsibly and safely within the scope of practice of accredited exercise physiologistsGC1, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Practice competently, consistent with the ESSA code of professional conduct and ethical practice, the professional standards of accredited exercise physiologists, and within the ESSA exercise physiology scope of practice.GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO3Evaluate the social contribution of professional practice and the ways in which human dignity is supported, within the context of the promotion of the common good, integrating coherent knowledge of selected theories and concepts in normative ethics and applied healthcare ethicsGC1, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC12


Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Healthcare ethics, the law, accreditation and professional practice
  • Risk management in clinical practice
  • Exercise Physiology within the Australian Healthcare System
  • Business essentials for accredited exercise physiologists
  • Evaluating clinical practice

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered through multi-mode delivery. Learning and teaching strategies adopted in this Masters level unit are informed by principles of andragogy, social constructivism, and experiential theory. These strategies focus on active participation within a community of inquiry. Purposefully designed online, face-to-face workshop activities, and facilitated clinical experience focus on inquiry-based learning principles aimed at encouraging critical thinking, application of knowledge and skills, evidence for practice, collaborative peer learning and self-reflection.

Across semester, students will engage in different modes of experiential learning within the context of a simulated professional clinical workplace. Student practitioners are supported by a team of clinical educators to assimilate and apply old and new knowledge in the clinical management of real clients. This clinical experience is designed to promote the transformations of student practitioners to healthcare professionals consistent with the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary for responsible clinical practice. Concurrently, students will engage in weekly, synchronous (live workshop) and asynchronous activities, deliberately organised for individual and small group participation. These activities focus on analysis of current practice, to assimilate application of acquired knowledge and facilitate translation of learning into future professional practice. Students will be encouraged to engage in extended dialogues in order to guide students towards a more interprofessional, person-centred practice. A blend of case-based and problem-based learning activities are provided pre-workshop and used during workshop discussions. These cases are used both to drive learning and as exemplars for learning with the aim of developing higher order thinking and reasoning including: consideration, interpretation, appraisal and critical analysis of data, information and ideas for guiding students towards innovative reasoning, holistic person-centred care and responsible clinical practice.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The first assessment (Individual report) provides students with an opportunity to develop their knowledge and practical understanding of risk management and legal compliance using an authentic case-based scenario. By combining these integral components of professional practice, students will have the knowledge required to implement a a safe and effective service for a client, whilst maintaining true to the common good.

The second assessment (Learning portfolio) is a hurdle task, for which students must maintain a portfolio of clinical learning activities consistent with the practice demands of accredited exercise physiologists. The portfolio encourages students to critically reflect on clinical performance and work integrated learning in a pop-up exercise physiology clinic. Features of the portfolio are designed to support students in planning future work integrated learning activities and initiates preparations for subsequent professional practice in different clinical workplace contexts. One feature of the portfolio, the Clinical Performance Assessment Tool (CPAT), documents clinical educator ratings and constructive feedback in relation to students' clinical performance in the pop-up clinic. To pass this hurdle task, students must demonstrate, at a minimum, the essential clinical competencies to practice responsibly with real clientele. Demonstration of these essential clinical competencies is necessary for safe and effective professional practice as an exercise physiologist.

Feedback from clinical educators is used to inform the design and organisation of subsequent experiential learning activities for student practitioners. Note, where insufficient observation is indicated by a clinical educator in the CPAT, a student may be provided with a supplementary experiential learning opportunity to demonstrate competency.

The third assessment task (Individual oral presentation) enables students to demonstrate knowledge of ethical practice principles, and how they relate to the social contribution of professional practice. The use of an online presentation allows students to express ethical issues in a natural context, and by using an online medium develops technological skills which are in line with many employment presentation requirements. Students will reference their experiences in the pop-up exercise physiology clinic.

To pass this unit and meet the learning outcomes students must achieve ≥50% in each graded assessment task and pass the ungraded hurdle (Assessment Task 2). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Capabilities

Assessment Task 1

Individual report 

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge of risk management principles and legal compliance in relation to an exercise physiology scenario.


LO1GC1, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11

Assessment Task 2

Learning portfolio 

Enables students an opportunity to document, and reflect upon, performance of essential clinical competencies within the AEP scope of practice followed by critical appraisal.


LO2GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12

Assessment Task 3

Individual oral presentation 

Enables students to undertake an observation and analysis of a ‘real life’ ethical issue, and apply a comprehensive and systematic analysis of ethical decision-making as it applies to an accredited exercise physiologist’s practice.


LO3GC1, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC12

Representative texts and references

Exercise & Sports Science Australia. (2021). Accredited Exercise Physiologist Professional Standards 2021. Retrieved on 21 May 2024 from

Exercise & Sports Science Australia. (2021). Accredited Exercise Physiologist Scope of Practice. Retrieved on 21 May 2024 from

Exercise & Sports Science Australia. (2021). Code of professional conduct and ethical practice. Retrieved on 21 May 2024 from

Exercise & Sports Science Australia. (2023). Compensable services an AEP can provide in Australia. Retrieved on 21 May 2024 from

Clinical educators will also recommend texts relevant to clients' presenting clinical conditions.

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