Graduate attributes

Graduates of Sydney Nursing School

Refer to the University of Sydney's Academic Board Resolutions: Generic Attributes of Graduates of the University of Sydney. Generic attributes go beyond the disciplinary expertise (competencies) or technical knowledge that has traditionally formed the core of many university courses and describe the qualities that equip graduates for their role in society and the workplace.

The University has identified three overarching graduate attributes, which reflect the research-intensive nature of the University, its scholarly values in relation to research-led teaching, and the place of its graduates in a global society. These attributes are:

        1. Scholarship: an attitude or stance towards knowledge
        2. Global citizenship: an attitude or stance towards the world
        3. Lifelong learning: an attitude or stance towards themselves

Each of these overarching attributes can be understood as a combination of five overlapping clusters of skills and abilities developed in disciplinary contexts.

In line with the Academic Board's policy delineating the generic attributes of graduates of the University of Sydney, Sydney Nursing School has a set of contextualised graduate attributes, developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders. Each unit of study outline includes material that underlies the significance of the faculty's graduate attributes. These attributes will assist graduates of the faculty in their working and professional life and are outlined below.


Graduates of Sydney Nursing School will be able to create new knowledge and understanding through the process of research and inquiry. They will:

  • value research and its contribution to the development of nursing and improved standards of care
  • critically evaluate existing nursing knowledge and recognise the limitations of that knowledge
  • have an informed respect for the principles, values and boundaries of their own nursing knowledge
  • use the most current nursing research as a guide to decision-making in all nursing practice settings
  • exercise critical thinking to foster new understanding.

Graduates of Sydney nursing School will be able to work independently and in a sustainable way that is informed by openness, curiosity and a desire to meet new challenges. They will have:

  • the ability to restore as much health as desired or possible following an illness, trauma or other health crisis
  • the ability to support and work therapeutically with patients and families who have acute, chronic, terminal or untreatable illnesses
  • an awareness that the role of the registered nurse includes accountability, acceptance of trust from others, and acceptance of the responsibility that is embedded in the nursing role
  • a commitment to continuing professional development and evaluation of personal values.

Graduates of Sydney nursing School will hold personal values and beliefs consistent with their role as responsible members of local, national, international and professional communities. They will:

  • have an awareness and understanding of the impact of socio-cultural factors on the health of individuals
  • understand the relationship between ethics and good patient care as clinical decisions directly affect the dignity, welfare and well-being of patients
  • be able to ethically justify their decisions, interventions and actions
  • be able to respond to the ethical implications of practice in appropriate and meaningful ways
  • protect the rights of individuals and groups in relation to health care
  • demonstrate commitment to sensitive, compassionate, human and professional behaviour.

Graduates of Sydney Nursing School will recognise and value communication as a tool for negotiating and creating new understanding, interacting with others, and furthering their own learning. They will:

  • have the ability to communicate nursing knowledge effectively to patients, families, colleagues and other health care professionals
  • be an empathic listener to the worries of patients, their families and friends and can respond effectively
  • manage effectively the nursing care of individuals and groups by appropriate organisation and/or delegation
  • collaborate and cooperate with other members of the health care team.