Nursing Assessment & Care

Subject NURS50004 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: TOTAL 166 hours - 36 hours lectures/tutorials/seminars, 18 hours clinical laboratory sessions, 112 hours clinical practicum
Total Time Commitment:

Students are expected to devote approximately 12 hours a week to this subject and a further 16 hours per week for seven weeks during clinical practicum.



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 think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Nursing Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Rochelle Wynne


Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9401
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

In this subject students will be introduced to health assessment across the lifespan using a comprehensive culturally sensitive nursing framework. Students will develop skills in data collection and documentation that focus on the principles of effective communication, interviewing and physical assessment techniques. Students will be introduced to the theoretical basis of clinical reasoning. Clinical reasoning involves the application of clinical judgement, clinical decision making and problem solving using data collected during health assessment. Nursing assessment and clinical reasoning underpin processes of nursing care. The focus in this subject will be on normal assessment findings to enable students to identify variations to these. Students will also be introduced to basic processes of nursing care that require the implementation of nursing skills and interventions. The principles of the ‘quality use of medicines’, drug calculations and administration, and lifespan considerations are explored.

In the clinical skills laboratory, through facilitated clinical practice, students will develop skills relating to comprehensive patient physical and health assessment, infection control, basic nursing interventions and drug administration.

In the clinical practicum, under the guidance of clinical educators and clinical mentors, students will gain experience in settings that enable them to meet the learning objectives of this subject.

The major focus of the clinical practicum component of this subject is integration of the principles of health assessment (incorporating interviewing and physical assessment), clinical decision making and basic nursing interventions. On completion of the subject it is expected that students, while providing therapeutic interventions, are able to incorporate the further collection of health assessment data, identify actual and potential patient problems and adjust care accordingly for 1 to 2 patients.


At the completion of this subject students should be able to:
• Identify ethical and legal principles including autonomy, confidentiality and informed consent as they apply to the nurse-patient interaction,
• Identify and utilise strategies that facilitate a therapeutic nurse patient relationship,
• Demonstrate the capacity to conduct a comprehensive nursing assessment,
• Demonstrate skills in completing a patient physical assessment,
• Integrate health assessment findings to assist clients with self care activities and selected nursing interventions,
• Demonstrate the capacity to safely administer and evaluate the use and outcomes of selected oral, topical and inhalant medications,
• Demonstrate the capacity to provide accurate written health assessment data using appropriate terminology,
• Develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of clinical decision making,
• Apply clinical decision making to patients with changing healthcare status,
• In a professional manner communicate verbally and in writing with the patient, their families and other members of the health care team.

Assessment: Theoretical Component - 50%
  1. 2,000 word assignment 20%
  2. 3 hour exam 30%

Clinical Component - 50%

a) Clinical Practicum Performance Assessment 20%

b) Clinical Practice Analysis 1 x 1,500 20%

c) 10 minute Medication Log Quiz x 5 quizzes on LMS 10%

Hurdle Component

  1. 15 minute drug calculation test

Students must pass the theoretical, clinical & hurdle components to achieve a pass in the subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Stedman’s medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing. Australian and New Zealand Edition (5th ed.). (2005)

Perrin, R. (2009). Pocket guide to APA style (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin College.

Education Innovations. (2005). Nursing Calculations (Version 6.0.0). ( General Relativity Pty Ltd, CD-ROM 2005 release).

Bullock, S., Manias, E., & Galbraith, A. (2007). Fundamentals of pharmacology (5th ed.). Australia: Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education.

Crisp, J. & Taylor, C. (2009). Potter and Perry’s Fundamentals of Nursing (3rd ed.). Chatswod, NSW: Elsevier Australia.

Lim, A. (ED). (2008). Australia New Zealand Nursing & Midwifery drug handwbook (4th ed.). Broadway, NSW: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Recommended Texts:

Ackley, B, J., & Ladwig, G. B. (2008). Nursing Diagnosis, An evidence based guide to planning care (8th ed.). St Louis: Mosby.

D’Amico, D., & Barbarito, C. (2007). Health & physical assessment in nursing. New Jersey: Pearson, Prentice Hall.

Reid-Searl, K., Dwyer, T., Ryan, J., & Moxham, L. (2008). Student Nurse: Clinical survival guide. Australia: Pearson Education.

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.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Nursing Science

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