Foundations in Mental Health 1

Subject NURS90014 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 54 hours on-campus lectures. Field practice component of a minimum of 384 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

In addition to the subject contact hours, students are expected to devote approximately 9 hours a week to this subject. Students can anticipate a time commitment of approximately 24 hours per week concurrent field practice.


Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia registration (Unrestricted)

Students must be employed at an affiliated clinical agency and provide documentation of clinical support arrangements necessary to undertake the professional practice portfolio prior to enrolment.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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


Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 1, 200 Berkeley St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 9035 7811
F: +61 3 8344 4188

Subject Overview:

This subject is designed to promote the integration of theoretical and practical aspects of psychiatric nursing to support safe practice for mental health consumers presenting to practice settings where they will be the recipients of care delivered by nurses who are beginning level specialty practitioners.

Students will learn about the principles and practices required to: complete a psychiatric admission assessment, conduct mental status examination, understand the classification and diagnosis of the major mental disorders across the lifespan, and conduct a psychiatric risk assessment. Students will become familiar with immediate interventions required to establish patient safety and a therapeutic environment; ongoing monitoring requirements; the underpinning biological basis of mental health and illness; and principles behind treatment, symptom management, and recovery from mental illness. Nursing interventions will be described in terms of the research evidence underpinning practice in the context of pre-requisite knowledge for skill development. The subject has a strong consumer focus, with an emphasis is on person-centred, bio/psych/social approaches to care.

Students engage in field practice in mental health care environments to address learning objectives focussing on the application of theoretical knowledge to skill development and the practice of caring for patients experiencing changes to their mental health status.


Students will be expected to be able to demonstrate their beginning specialty nursing practice through:

  • integration of the theoretical content covered within the subject to develop new knowledge that supports safe practice as a beginning specialty nurse in mental health settings;
  • the ability to integrate knowledge and skills learnt in the subject to recognise and plan a response to patients experiencing alterations to health and wellness that occur in the specific context of psychiatric nursing;
  • the ability to understand and evaluate specialised interventions as described in the subject content to provide a foundation for participating in the delivery of care at the beginning level of psychiatric nursing practice;
  • the capacity to use skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, rational inquiry and self-directed learning to apply knowledge learnt in the theoretical component of the subject to beginning level psychiatric nursing clinical practice;
  • an understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • the ability to apply knowledge to understand skills and techniques applicable to the specialist area.

Theoretical Component 60%

1. Written assignment of 2000 words (25%) - Due mid semester

2. Closed book, 3 hour written examination (35%) - At the end of semester

Clinical Component 40%

3. A professional practice portfolio which must include evidence of clinical competency achievement and is equivalent to 3,000 words (40%) - due at the end of semester

Students must achieve a pass in both the theoretical and clinical component in order to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Elder, R. Evans, K., & Nizette, D. (2005). Psychiatric and mental health nursing. Marrackville NSW: Elsevier.

Hungerfors, C.,

Stuart, G., & Laraia, M. (2005). Principles and practices of psychiatric nursing. (8th ed.). St Louis: Mosby.

Recommended Texts:

Bloch, S., & Singh, B.S. (Eds.). (2002). Foundations of clinical psychiatry (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Carson, V. (2000). Mental health nursing: The nurse-patient journey (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders

Gamble, C., & Brennan, G. (2000). Working with serious mental illness: A manual for clinical practice. Edinburgh: Elsevier.

Rogers, A., & Pilgrim, D. (2006). A sociology of mental health and illness. (3rd ed.). New York: Open University Press.

Townsend, M.C. (2006). Psychiatric mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. Philadelphia: Davis.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

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

  • a capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in oral and written modes of communication;
  • a capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Mental Health)
Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing Practice (Mental Health)

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