Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Prevention Level 6 module

This module is now open only to students completing a BSc programme with Education for Health.

This module is suitable for all primary healthcare professionals participating in the care of individuals with, or at risk of cardiovascular disease. The module aims to promote the development of a sound, comprehensive knowledge base of atrial fibrillation and its impact within the cardiovascular spectrum, with a particular emphasis on stroke prevention. The module will also address the recognition of early warning signs of stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA), secondary prevention and long term care.

Successful students of this course will be able to demonstrate appropriate skills and knowledge in the detection, diagnosis, risk assessment and management of atrial fibrillation and its role in stroke prevention. They will also recognise the importance of early acute management and understand the principles of secondary prevention and long term care of patients with stroke/TIA. As such students will be able to be proactive in advising and initiating appropriate management strategies in line with current clinical guidance and be responsive to the changing needs of patients, their families and the wider health system.

This module is validated by The Open University. The Regulations for validated awards of The Open University can be seen here.

Why choose this module?

Benefits include:

  • The opportunity to network with fellow students from a range of disciplines and specialties.
  • Access to experts.
  • Individuals will be able to challenge current practice and embed evidence based practice into their delivery of care.
  • Greater job satisfaction which leads to a deeper commitment to service delivery and patient care.
  • Opportunity to build to a Diploma in Higher Education or BSc (Honours) degree.
  • Gaining academic credit for a named award. A number of credits is assigned to each module, which indicates the amount of learning undertaken, and the specified credit level indicates the relative depth of learning involved. Credit is a means of quantifying and recognising learning whenever and wherever it is achieved. Credit may also help you transfer to another programme either within Education for Health or at a different institution.
  • Upon the completion of this module students should possess the qualities and knowledge to assist their further development as professionals.
What will I study?

The subjects covered include:

  • Epidemiology and impact of atrial fibrillation and stroke
  • Pathophysiology of the heart, conduction system and atrial fibrillation
  • Pathophysiology of stroke and TIA
  • Detection, diagnosis and assessment of atrial fibrillation including stroke risk assessment
  • Pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of atrial fibrillation, with emphasis on stroke prevention
  • Recognising early warning signs of stroke and TIA and urgent acute management
  • Secondary prevention and long term management
  • Facilitating a patient centred approach and developing strategies for self-management
Level of study and credit value

This is a Level 6 module, which carries 30 CATS (Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme) points.

Where will I study and for how long?

This is a six month eLearning course with optional study days. It has a notional study time of 300 hours which includes time to study learning materials, attend study days where relevant, and complete assessments.

This module is delivered by blended learning, with study days to support the online course. Please note that if low numbers of students book onto this module we may cancel study days at short notice. If this is the case, students already registered will be contacted by our Finance Team and can choose to continue with the course as distance only, or be refunded.

Our study days are optional, although we advise that you attend if you possibly can, as students tell us that they learn a lot from the face to face contact with their tutor and that networking with other students is particularly useful.

The location of study days is determined by the cohort you choose to join.

How is this module assessed and what is the criteria for a pass?

Coursework 1: Students are required to submit an assignment at week 12 of 2,000 words that relates to clinical practice.  It must illustrate in depth their understanding of the pathophysiology of atrial fibrillation and stroke. The assignment will be required to discuss the importance of prevention strategies to reduce cardiovascular death and mortality related to atrial fibrillation and stroke, it will demonstrate in depth understanding of atrial fibrillation and stroke risk assessment and demonstrate their understanding of the importance of recognising early warning signs, diagnosis and acute management strategies. Feedback will be no later than week 18.
Coursework 1 comprises of 40% of the total mark

Coursework 2: Students are required to submit a case study at week 24 of 3,000 words. This consists of a detailed case study of a person with established atrial fibrillation who has also had a TIA or stroke. Utilising relevant research it must demonstrate in-depth analysis of the management and application of pharmacological and non-pharmacological management strategies for atrial fibrillation, TIA and stroke, this should include secondary prevention, rehabilitation and self-management. The case study should demonstrate in-depth understanding of the impact for patients, families and health professionals following a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and stroke.
Course work 2 comprises of 60% of the total mark.

Criteria for a pass
The pass mark for the module is 40% in each element of assessment and 40% overall. Reassessment is as per regulations in the Student Guide.

Can I take this module as part of a programme?

Successful completion of single modules results in the awarding of academic credits that could be used as part of a DipHE/BSc (Hons) degree programme, though this would always be at the discretion of the academic institution where you intended to undertake the programme.

Since September 2019, Education for Health no longer offers DipHE/BSc (Hons) programmes.

Successful completion of a level 6 module can also enable progression onto an MSc programme at Education for Health, as you could be eligible to bring in up to 30 credits at level 6 through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

More information on our MSc programmes can be found here, or contact our Programme Team to discuss your individual circumstances at

What are the entry requirements for this module?

A Health Professional qualification.

All applicants for The Open University validated modules must be registered or working within the UK. All applicants should have sufficient competency in the English Language to successfully study at Level 5/6.

All learning materials, teaching and assessment are conducted in the English language. Students will need to apply this to an academic environment.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they have sufficient proficiency in the English Language to undertake the module or programme to which they are registered.

If you plan to undertake one of our programmes, further entry requirements are required, please refer to our admissions policy.

Further information

We are committed to equality of opportunity. Our Disability Coordinator and Student Support Team provide advice and information and coordinate
arrangements for students. View our Support for Students with a Disability here.

Students have access to the eLearning materials for 18 months from the start date of their module.

How to apply

Click here to see all Cardiovascular modules with dates.

To arrange a module in your area for 20+ students, contact our NHS Partnerships team by emailing and the NHS Partnerships Manager for your area will be in touch.