Clients with Complex Health States

Subject NURS90053 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (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: 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.

A pass in the following subjects prior to enrolment:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2
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 Patricia Nicholson


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 integrates the knowledge and skills gained in Nursing Science 1 & 2, Nursing Assessment & Care, and Clients with Acute & Chronic Illness. Students will develop skills that focus on processes of nursing care necessary for patients experiencing complex health problems. The aim of this subject is to consolidate, reinforce and expand previously learnt skills in assessment, data collection, problem identification and the selection of relevant nursing interventions. The role of nurses in collaborating with allied disciplines to deliver health care to clients with complex health issues will be discussed. Care of the patient with invasive lines and attachments, complex pain issues and multiple medications will be explored.

In the clinical skills laboratory students will practice the procedural skills necessary for care of complex patients including, venepuncture, blood transfusion, central venous catheters, management of the artificial airway and underwater seal drainage. Students will develop skills in the identification and interpretation of abnormal arrhythmias and cardiac monitoring.

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 for the clinical practicum component of this subject is 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, are able to incorporate the collection of health assessment data, identify actual and potential patient problems, plan care with the selection of appropriate nursing interventions, implement interventions and evaluate the outcome of nursing care accordingly for 3 patients.


At the completion of this subject the student should be able to:
• Demonstrate competency in physical and psychosocial assessment,
• Assess health teaching needs of individuals/ families/ carers,
• 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,
• Apply clinical reasoning and problem solving skills to care for patients with specific disease processes,
• Accurately and professionally document data collected by applying health assessment principles,
• 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,
• Apply the principles to plan, implement and evaluate health teaching programs,
• In a professional manner communicate verbally and in writing with the patient, their families and other members of the health care team,
• Demonstrate the capacity to work effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team in the delivery of health care.


Theoretical Component 50%

1. 1,000 word Assignment (10%)
2. 3 hour exam (40%).

Clinical Component 50%

a) Clinical Practicum Performance Assessment 20%
b) Clinical Practice Analysis 1 x 1500 words 20%
c) 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:

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.

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

Brown, D., & Edwards, H. (2008). Lewis’ medical-surgical nursing (2nd ed.). Sydney: Elsevier Mosby.

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 awareness;
  • 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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