Clients with Complex Health States

Subject 514-762 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 25.00
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

On campus
For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 42 lectures/tutorials/seminars, 12 clinical laboratory sessions, 168 clinical practicum, TOTAL: 222 hours
Total Time Commitment: Approximately 256 hours
Students are expected to devote approximately 12 hours a week to this subject and a further 24 hours per week for seven weeks during clinical practicum.
Prerequisites: 514753 Nursing Science 1 and
514756 Nursing Science 2 and
514754 Nursing Assessment and Care and
514757 Clients With Acute and Chronic Illness
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

This subject requires students to actively and safely contribute to clinical activities. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Nursing Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


School of Nursing and Social Work
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3053 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9400
F: +61 3 9347 4375
Subject Overview: This subject integrates the knowledge and skills gained in Nursing Science 1 & 2, Nursing Assessment and Care, Clients with Acute and Chronic Illness, to care for patients experiencing complex health problems. The role of nurses in collaborating with allied disciplines in delivering health care to these individuals will be explored. Issues such as readmission including emergency admissions, triage, transition issues, referrals, hospital in the home, case management and populations with special needs will be a focus for discussion.
In the clinical skills laboratory students will practice complex procedural skills including for example complex wound dressings, central venous catheter management, venepuncture, management of the artificial airway, underwater seal drainage. Students will develop skills in advanced life support and cardiac monitoring.
In the clinical practicum under the guidance of clinical educators and mentors, students will gain experience in settings that enable them to meet the learning objectives of this subject.
The major focus for the clinical practicum component of this subject is the integration of the principles for holistic nursing, clinical decision making and more complex and advanced nursing interventions. On completion of the subject it is expected that students, while providing therapeutic interventions, is able to incorporate the further collection of health assessment data and adjust care accordingly for 2-3 patients

At the completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • demonstrate competency in physical and psychosocial assessment;
  • accurately and professionally document data collected by applying health assessment principles;
  • apply clinical reasoning and problem solving skills to their knowledge of developmental processes, specific disease processes and drug groups;
  • incorporate the principles of cultural safety and understanding when developing and implementing care;
  • incorporate the principles of evidence-based practice and apply an evidence based approach to the delivery of nursing care;
  • develop and write comprehensive care plans for patients with complex acute/chronic illnesses;
  • demonstrate skills in prioritising care and time management;
  • implement and document comprehensive nursing care;
  • evaluate outcomes of nursing management and revise care plans accordingly;
  • communicate effectively with patients/families/carers, peers and other members of the health care team;
  • assess health teaching needs of individuals/ families/ carers;
  • apply the principles to plan , implement and evaluate health teaching programs;
  • demonstrate the capacity to work effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team in the delivery of health care.


Theoretical component 60%
a) 2,000-word case study (week 7) 25%
b) Three-hour written examination (exam week) 35%

Clinical component (week 13) 40%
c) Clinical Practicum equivalent to 3,000 words inclusive of:

  • performance appraisal assessment ,
  • 4 x 250-word clinical event analyses
  • 4 x 250-word medication logs

Hurdle Requirement
d) 15-minute drug calculation test
Students must pass the theoretical, clinical and hurdle components to achieve a pass the subject

Prescribed Texts:
  • Brown, D., & Edwards, H. (2004). Lewis’ medical-surgical nursing. Sydney: Mosby.
  • Bullock, S., Manias, E., & Galbraith, A. (2007). Fundamentals of pharmacology (5th ed.). Australia: Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education.
  • Gatford, J., & Phillips, N. (2002). Nursing calculations (6th ed.).Melbourne: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Stedman’s medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing. Australian and New Zealand Edition (5th ed.). (2005). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

At the completion of this subject, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • the capacity for information seeking, retrieval and evaluation;
  • critical thinking and analytical skills;
  • an openness to new ideas;
  • cultural safety;
  • planning and time management skills;
  • the ability to work effectively in a team;
  • the ability to communicate knowledge through classroom and web-based discussions and written material.
Related Course(s): Master of Nursing Science

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