Mental Health and Illness

Subject NURS50008 (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:

Summer Term, 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: 214 hours (54 lectures, 160 clinical practicum)
Total Time Commitment:

Students are expected to devote approximately 36 hours a week (for 3 weeks) to this subject and 40 hours per week for four weeks during clinical practicum.


A pass in the following prior to enrolment:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
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.


Ms Rita Funnell


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:

This subject introduces students to an understanding of the dimensions of the nursing role in mental health and illness of individuals across the life-span. Students will examine the principles and practices of psychiatric, mental health nursing for patients experiencing an acute or chronic mental illness. This subject will explore and discuss: National Mental Health Plan, major psychiatric disorders, mental health law, psychiatric nursing assessment, advocacy, consumer involvement, collaborative care models, and treatment services. The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of psychotropic medication and issues related to medication management for people experiencing mental illness will be discussed.

In the clinical practicum under the guidance of clinical educators/ preceptors, students will gain experience in acute, sub acute or community psychiatric services 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 of psychiatric mental health nursing and clinical decision making. 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 and adjust care accordingly for 1-2 patients.


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

  • Identify and be cognisant of the National Mental Health Plan and integrate DHS clinical practices guidelines where relevant;
  • describe the aetiology, presentation and management of the major psychiatric disorders;
  • express positive attitudes to the care of people experiencing mental health problems;
  • utilise strategies that facilitate therapeutic client relationships and actively involve clients in their treatment & care;
  • demonstrate the ability to collect assessment data using a comprehensive nursing framework which includes mental status examination and risk assessment;
  • utilise data collected to develop a nursing care plan for patients experiencing acute or chronic mental illness;
  • demonstrate analytical skills by incorporating the theoretical principles of clinical decision making into their patient care plans;
  • discuss and demonstrate in practice the legal and ethical principles related to medication administration, involuntary treatment & detention and the documentation of nursing care;
  • implement nursing care for clients under the supervision of a clinical educator or preceptor.

Theoretical Component - 50%

  1. 2,000 word assignment 20%
  2. 3 hour exam 30%

Clinical Component - 50%

  1. Clinical Practicum Performance Assessment 20%
  2. Clinical Practice Analysis 2x 750 words 20%
  3. 10 minute Medication Log Quiz x 5 quizzes on LMS 10%

Hurdle Component
a) 15 minute drug calculation test

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

Prescribed Texts:

Elder, R., Evans, K., & Nizette, D. (2009). Psychiatric and mental health nursing (2nd ed.). Sydney: Elsevier Mosby

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).

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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