Illness, Experience and Nursing Care (NURS5006)


The ways in which individual people subjectively experience illness and care, particularly nursing care, is the focus of this unit of study. The unit encourages students to think critically about their own attitudes, beliefs, and ideas about health, illness, and care, and to examine how these might have a bearing on the experiences of those in their care. Theories that inform understanding of what it is to be human are examined. Attention is drawn to such factors as embodiment, illness and the body, emotions arising in illness, issues of self-identity and social attitudes to illness and disability. The unit also introduces students to qualitative research methodologies that are used to explore illness experiences. A variety of illness experiences are then examined. With this knowledge, the nurse-patient relationship is then critically examined. From within a communication-based framework, students focus on ideas about therapeutic listening and use of self as well as the concept of knowledge transfer as it is relevant to nurse-patient interactions. Students also engage with contemporary debates about the nature of nurse-patient interactions and relationships today and explore the ways in which these might vary in different health care settings, and with people from different cultural backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


12x2-hr lectures, 3x2-hr tutorials online, labs 2x2-hr, and clinical placements (80-hrs)


Student assessment (100%) conducted throughout the semester, as advised within the relevant unit of study outline

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


NURS5081 and NURS5042 or NURS5083

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.