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 firstly examines theories that inform understandings of what it means to be human, including theories of early childhood development. The unit also introduces students to qualitative research methodologies that are used to explore illness experiences. Many different illness experiences are then examined. Attention is drawn to such factors as emotions arising in illness, issues of self identity, embodiment, and social attitudes to illness and disability. With this knowledge about illness experiences in mind, 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 Indigenous people.

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Further unit of study information


13x2-hr lectures, 13x1.5-hr tutorials, clinical placements


essay (45%) and nurse-patient interaction/relationship skills (10%) and written examination (45%) and satisfactory off-campus clinical assessment

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge


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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.

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