Complexity in Acute & Critical Care

Subject 514-812 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours on-campus lectures and tutorials
Total Time Commitment: Students are expected to devote approximately 6-10 hours per week to this subject.
Prerequisites: n/a
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Sandy Braaf
Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of care for patients experiencing complex and/or multiple alterations to normal function. A case study approach is taken to facilitate exploration of diverse aspects of specialty practice across the lifespan and across specializations within Acute and Critical Care. Essential concepts relating to topics such as trauma, transplantation, burns, death and organ donation, pain management, multi-organ system failure, cerebral insult, acute respiratory distress syndrome, rare cardiac and respiratory disorders and toxicology are considered. Students then engage in problem solving activities to apply these concepts to specialty specific assessment and management to inform their practice as proficient level specialty practitioners. Students are also challenged to think beyond the physical aspects of medical interventions to consider the psychosocial, ethical and legal implications of nursing practice in Acute and Critical Care settings.

Assessment: Written assignment of 1500 words due week 6 - 35%Written assignment of 2,500 words due end of semester - 65%
Prescribed Texts: n/a
Recommended Texts:

A list of recommended texts will be supplied to students on enrolment in the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students will be expected to be able to demonstrate their proficiency in specialty nursing practice through:

  • an understanding of the assessment, planning and management of patients with complex disorders requiring multi-system and multi-disciplinary interventions;
  • an ability to resource professional literature and apply research at the 'cutting edge' of knowledge about patient management and specialty nursing practice;
  • completing a group exercise that demonstrates individual ability to apply theoretical knowledge to the practical implementation of care for a specific patient experiencing complex disorders requiring multi-system and multi-disciplinary interventions and the capacity to enhance and value the knowledge of others;
  • a capacity to articulate the outcome of the group exercise in a written form that demonstrates both understanding of the scientific knowledge and research evidence underpinning practice and an appreciation of the contribution of the knowledge of peers;
  • an understanding of the impact of critical illness, medical interventions and technology upon the psychosocial and moral well-being of patients and their families;
  • an appreciation of the ethical and legal implications of acute and critical care nursing practice for the nurse: as an individual; as a member of a disciplinary and multi-disciplinary team; as an employee of the healthcare institution and as a care provider for the critically ill patient and his/her family.
  • an advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area; an ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline;
  • advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline; well-developed problem-solving abilities in the discipline area, characterised by flexibility of approach;
  • advanced competencies in areas of professional expertise and/or scholarship.

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following generic skills of the Melbourne graduate and postgraduate coursework student:

  • a capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in written presentations;
  • the capacity to value and participate in projects which require team-work;
  • an understanding of the significance and value of their knowledge to the wider community (including business and industry).
Links to further information:

Level: 4th year - This subject has a multi-media tutorial component delivered via the University's on-line Learning Management System (LMS). Students must have access to appropriate computer facilities and the Internet.

The minimum computer hardware and software specifications for the subject are consistent with the University's guidelines on the expected standard of computer equipment (

No special computer skills are required. Students are required to have skills consistent with the University's Statement of "Basic Expectations of Student Computer Skills" : which includes basic knowledge of computer operating systems, word-processing skills, email use, and the internet. Specifically students need to be able to write, edit and save an essay on the computer and be competent in the use of standard WWW browsers and should be able to use information searching techniques.

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