Complexity in Cancer & Palliative Care

Subject 514-893 (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

Off Campus (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre)

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 9 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.


Nicole King
Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of care for patients experiencing complex needs in cancer or palliative care settings. Essential concepts relating to health promotion and surveillance, advanced chemotherapy/ radiotherapy principles and practices, newer treatment modalities, sub specialty nursing interventions and complex symptom sequalae management will be explored. 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 Cancer & Palliative Care settings.

Assessment: Written assignment of 2500 words due week 8 (55%);Closed book, 2 hour written examination at end of semester (45%).
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 whose cancer is characterized by complex pathophysiological processes that requires 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 in the cancer and palliative care practice setting;
  • an understanding of the impact of cancer, curative and palliative interventions and technology upon the psychosocial and moral well-being of patients and their families;
  • an appreciation of the ethical and legal implications of cancer and palliative 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 patient and his/her family experiencing cancer and/or palliative care;
  • 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.

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

  • a capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society.
Links to further information:
Notes: 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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