Units of study for the Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry)

NURS5081 Introduction to Nursing Practice

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
[[b||Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, exam, clinical performance assessment

This unit of study provides an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of professional nursing, and to observe and explore the roles and relationships among nurses, patients and other health professionals in a practice setting. This unit of study will introduce Physical Assessment, Occupational Health and Safety and will equip nursing students to develop a “toolkit” of fundamental nursing practice strategies and “craft” skills. This will include a focus on working with patients across the lifespan and within different cultural groups. Students will be introduced to the cycle of clinical judgement and patterns of knowing that underpin nursing practice.

NURS5082 Developing Nursing Practice

Credit points: 6
Prerequisite: Nil
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, exam, clinical performance assessment
Prerequisite or corequisite: NURS5081 Introduction to Nursing Practice

This unit of study complements Introduction to Nursing Practice and further develops the understanding of the exercise of clinical judgement in practice and the role of nursing in assisting those experiencing hospitalisation. Such assistance includes but is not limited to: maintenance of appropriate fluid status, infection control, oral medications, effective levels of oxygenation and pain relief. This knowledge will be extended to incorporate the experience of caring for patients when the body fails to function as expected, particularly where surgery is required. This unit of study will further develop skills in physical assessment, communication, and documentation.

NURS5006 Illness Experience & Nursing Care

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: exam, research project, communication skills assessment

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.

NURS5002 Social Contexts of Health

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, group presentation, exam

Ideas and beliefs about health, illness and care are intrinsically connected to particular social and historical contexts. This unit of study explores a range of such ideas and beliefs that are relevant within Australia today. A focus on social, cultural and philosophical theories of embodiment will help students to understand how proper relations to bodily products are a part of ordering of society and relevant for critical analyses of beliefs and ideas about health, illness, wellbeing and care. A major component of this unit is Indigenous Australian people’s health and history, including their understandings of health and wellbeing. The unit also explores theories about health, illness and care from western and non-western perspectives. Drawing on such theories, a major component of the unit is a critical analysis of the relationships between social factors (for example ethnicity, gender, class, employment) and patterns of health and illness across the lifespan in contemporary Australia.

NURS5083 Human Bioscience in Health

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: exam, written scientific report, workshops

This unit of study will examine various biological processes to assist students in developing their understanding of human cellular structure and function and the contribution this makes to body functions in health. The major body systems and following physiological concepts will be addressed within the context of neuro-hormonal regulation, and the body’s maintenance of a general state of homeostasis: oxygenation, metabolism, elimination, movement, pH and fluid-electrolyte balance, immunity and reproduction.

NURS5084 Nursing the Acutely Ill Person

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Prerequisite: NURS5082 Developing Nursing Practice
Assessment: essay, exam, medication administration assessment

This unit of study complements Illness Experience and Nursing Care, focusing on the responses of individuals and others to disruption to health. Here the focus is particularly on the commonly occurring conditions which are often chronic but which may exhibit acute phases. Such conditions may include: asthma, cardiac disease, diabetes, renal failure. A life span approach will be in evidence throughout as these diseases manifest and are treated differently as they occur at different life stages. In this unit of study students will further develop comprehensive health assessment skills and their understandings of accurate medication administration.

NURS5085 Mental Health Nursing Practice

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: case study presentation, clinical performance appraisal, exam
Prerequisite or corequisite: NURS5084 Nursing the Acutely Ill Person

This unit of study is based on the principle that mental health knowledge and skills are essential for all nurses. Students are introduced to constructs of mental health and wellbeing and mental illness and the role of the nurse in promoting mental health, preventing mental illness and minimising the negative effects of the latter for individuals, their family/carers and the community. Consumer and carer perspectives will inform students’ understandings of mental health problems as experienced by children, young people and adults, including older persons, of varying cultural and gender backgrounds. These problems are explored in view of the latest evidence for risk/protective factors, symptomatology, nursing care, and psychotherapeutic and physical treatment approaches. Co-morbidities, including substance use and physical health conditions, will also be explored. The nurse’s effective use of self and the therapeutic nurse/client interpersonal relationship as core mental health nursing skills are addressed from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Students will develop and consolidate key mental health assessment and clinical skills including foundation counselling skills. The care continuum in mental health, and the scope of nursing practice in a range of mental health and ethico-legal contexts are addressed with the overall aim of generating nursing care that supports effective outcomes for mental health consumers and their family/carers.

NURS5086 Drug Therapy, Disease & Nursing Practice

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, case study, exam
Prerequisite: NURS5083 Human Bioscience in Health

The knowledge acquired in Bioscience in Health about the cellular and systemic organisation and normal functioning of the human body will be used as a foundation for this unit of study. Basic cellular changes associated with disease processes such as inflammation, infection, neoplasia, thrombosis, ischaemia, haemodynamic disturbance and disturbances of neuro and hormonal transmission will be explored. Pharmacological interventions aimed at restoring or replacing the function of specific cells, tissues or organs affected by these pathological changes will be considered.

NURS6004 Nursing & the Politics of Health Care

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, exam, tutorial presentation activity

This unit of study critically analyses the Australian health care system, with an emphasis on its structure, funding arrangements, and the ways in which it is influenced by contemporary ideologies and economic and political factors. The unit focuses on current political issues and debates (including those concerning nursing) and the ways in which these affect health policy and the delivery of care in Australia and elsewhere, as well as on issues of access and equity and resource allocation. The Australian health care system is compared with other OECD country systems to help students to think critically about the effectiveness of the Australian system in global terms.

NURS6008 Inquiry & Research in Nursing

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: exam, group tutorial presentation, online quiz, essay

This unit of study will extend students’ ability to utilise research in their nursing practice and understand research approaches that have proved successful for improving nursing practice(s) and patient care. Students will develop skills and knowledge appropriate to working in a research-informed manner, identifying areas where research could enhance practice and generate knowledge, and using this in their professional role in assessing research relevant to their professional practice. This unit of study will provide students with the tools to appreciate the process of inquiry, and the methods used to construct nursing knowledge and provide evidence for practice. The ability to differentiate between these various modes of inquiry and the appropriateness of their use in the investigation of nursing practice will be developed. Students will have the opportunity to critique the contribution of research to informing nursing practice and health care. Throughout the unit students will gain knowledge and experience of literature reviews, critiquing studies, research ethics and governance, and the factors that guide the development of a research project.

NURS6018 Care and Chronic Conditions

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, exam, clinical performance assessment
Prerequisite: NURS5084 Nursing the Acutely Ill Person, NURS5085 Mental Health Nursing Practice and NURS5081 Introduction to Nursing Practice


This unit of study addresses nursing practices designed to meet the needs of individuals and families who are either living with long-term health conditions or terminal illness. A lifespan approach, childhood to old age, will provide an overview. An emphasis is placed on a holistic approach to nursing care irrespective of setting. Continuity of care provision between hospital and community is emphasised using a case management model of care. The dynamics of self management for persons living with chronic conditions will be highlighted. Common chronic conditions in the Australian population will be identified together with their lifestyle and biomedical risk factors. Mental health issues will be addressed where appropriate, and chronic pain, its impact and management will be discussed as many chronic conditions have pain as a component. Co-morbidities, particularly within the care of elderly persons, will be explored. The importance of community engagement in addressing issues associated with chronic conditions in Indigenous communities will be studied. Palliative nursing skills will be a focus, including symptom management and psychosocial care which facilitate a peaceful death.

NURS6019 High Acuity Nursing

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, exam, case study, clinical performance assessment
Prerequisite: NURS5084 Nursing the Acutely Ill Person and NURS5081 Introduction to Nursing Practice

This unit of study primarily addresses nursing practices and interventions designed to meet the needs of seriously or critically ill people being nursed in high acuity settings. It explores the high acuity environment and the technological monitoring devices that can be used to assist in the management of these acutely ill patients. It builds on knowledge and capabilities developed in Nursing the Acutely Ill Person. The unit explores (through the use of case studies) acute life-threatening health problems such as; interruptions to circulation, neurological functioning and respiratory function. In this context, specific clinical situations will be explored, such as the emergency presentation of a woman experiencing potentially life-threatening complications of pregnancy and the rapid deterioration of the adult, elderly adult, Indigenous or paediatric patient. An important component of this unit of study is the understanding of nursing assessment and management required when caring for patients with rapidly changing clinical conditions.

NURS6022 Community Health Nursing

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, clinical work book, group presentation, exam
Prerequisites: NURS6019 High Acuity Nursing & NURS6018 Care & Chronic Conditions

This unit of study examines the major concepts and principles of community health nursing including self care, continuity of care, primary health care, health promotion/illness prevention, community assessment, family assessment, and home care. Increasingly complex and chronic health conditions are being managed in the community. Approaches to the provision of nursing care for people of all ages with acute, chronic, or life threatening illness in settings where they live will be critiqued. Particular attention is given to the home visit process: its therapeutic nature, communication skills and safety issues. The nurse’s role in health promotion and disease prevention within a developmental life stage approach will be explored with special consideration given to children and adolescents. Epidemiological concepts and methodologies integral to community health nursing are explored. Students undertake a community assessment using a ‘community profile’ approach. This approach will be extended to explore and plan for the health needs of communities who experience health disparities including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people living with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities, minority cultural groups, and the homeless. Community clinical placements afford students the opportunity to consolidate and integrate theoretical knowledge and community nursing practice.

NURS6023 Professional Practice of Nursing

Credit points: 6
Semester: 1
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: reflective journal, essays, exam

This unit of study examines key relevant parts of the four elements of the regulation of health care professionals, using nursing as the example: registration – including continuing competence and professional portfolios, life-long learning and currency, and recency of practice; education – including accreditation of programs; professional standards – including codes of professional conduct and ethics, standards for registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives and nurse practitioners, professional boundaries, legal frameworks for practice and decision making frameworks; and professional competence – including conduct, health and performance. The unit will explore the key elements of this framework in relation to the professional practice of nurses and will enable the student to understand their legal and ethical framework for professional practice and the regulatory environment they will enter upon registration. The unit will focus particularly on providing a helpful frame of reference for the student that will give them the confidence to practise within a professional framework and the resources to access should professional issues arise. This unit is also designed to assist students prepare for making the transition into the workforce.

NURS6024 Global Health & Nursing

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: exam, reflective journal, essay
Prerequisite: NURS5002 Social Contexts of Health

This unit of study explores the emerging role of nurses as global citizens and the role of the profession in its global context. The ways in which individual and local nursing activities may impact on global health and sustainability will be explored through examination of some of the current debates. Analyses of demographic trends surrounding newly emerging and re-emerging major physical and mental health issues will be examined. The unit will also focus on the integration of non-western and western approaches to providing care, the related issue of knowledge translation in developing countries, and international nurse migration patterns and associated ethical issues. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the way forward for nursing as a profession through an examination of past and current interventions such as Human Rights, Primary Health Care and Millennium Development Goals, along with a focus on the organisations tasked with the responsibility of implementation such as UN, WHO, UNESCO and UNDP together with the Nursing and Midwifery international organisations such as ICN and ICM. Concepts and initiatives that have proven effective in achieving more sustainable outcomes such as health promoting settings and global health reform will be explored as possible strategies for achieving sustainability.

NURS6025 Nursing Practice (Mental Health Option)

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Prerequisites: NURS6019 High Acuity Nursing and NURS6018 Care & Chronic Conditions
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: exam, therapeutic skills assessment, essay

This unit of study provides an opportunity for students to extend and develop their understandings of mental health problems and practices and explore a range of complex mental health issues in further depth. The needs of special populations are a particular focus. These include perinatal mental health, infant, child and adolescent mental health issues, mental health issues affecting the older person, and the mental health of incarcerated and displaced persons. The relationship between trauma and mental health and the impact of violence and trauma on mental health is also explored. Therapeutic and complementary/alternative approaches to mental health are an associated focus and students will have the opportunity to extend their understandings of specific approaches in respect to individual and group implementation. The unit also assists in preparing students for an extended clinical placement in mental health in the final semester of the program.

NURS6026 Nursing Practice (Paediatrics Option)

Credit points: 6
Semester: 2
Prerequisites: NURS6019 High Acuity Nursing and NURS6018 Care & Chronic Conditions
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, case study, exam, clinical performance assessment

This unit of study will examine the integration of theoretical and clinical components of nursing knowledge to enable the provision of care to children and adolescents. Building on all of the units previously undertaken, the responses of children and adolescents and their families to disruptions to health will be explored. Using those illnesses commonly found in our community, the experiences of illness and how these illnesses impact on children, adolescents, families and communities will be examined. The family, however defined, will remain as the central organising frame through which parenting, childhood and adolescence will be further examined, and a developmental life stage approach will be maintained. This unit of study will include accident prevention and actions to enhance health. Throughout this unit of study cultural and Indigenous health practices and their potential implications for the care provided in these situations will be considered.

NURS6027 Nursing Practice (High Acuity Option)

Credit Points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Assessment: essay, exam, case study, clinical performance assessment
Prerequisite: NURS6019 High Acuity Nursing and NURS6018 Care & Chronic Conditions

This unit of study provides the opportunity for students to examine the theoretical and professional aspects of critical care nursing practice. The unit will build from the work of High Acuity Nursing to specifically focus on nursing practices for patients with an increased dependence on nursing support in a critical care environment. This unit will foster the development of specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable students to understand the needs of critically ill patients. The legal and ethical constraints and frameworks in which critical care nursing practice is conducted will be explored. A period of clinical education within an appropriate critical care setting is also included, for example, intensive care, high dependency or coronary care units and emergency.

NURS6028 Nursing Practice (Clinical Nursing Option)

Credit Points: 6
Semester: 2
Delivery mode: ND Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day
Prerequisite: NURS6019 High Acuity Nursing and NURS6018 Care & Chronic Conditions

This unit provides students with an opportunity to consolidate prior learning, and expand their knowledge base and nursing practice expertise within areas fundamental to nursing across a variety of health care settings. Attention will be directed to areas of nursing practice such as aged care, palliative care, and the adult person experiencing surgery or medical illness. The framework of the nursing practice thinking cycle will be used to guide the teaching and learning strategies, while each phase of the cycle will be addressed in detail as related to specific contexts in a range of clinical settings. Elements of care may include patient education, pain management, models of care, discharge planning, quality use of medications, consumer advocacy, obtaining informed consent, and other interventions to restore or maintain patients'/clients’ physical and psychosocial health.