Clients with Complex Health States

Subject NURS90053 (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: 42 lectures/tutorials/seminars, 12 clinical laboratory sessions, 160 clinical practicum,
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
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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.


Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 1, 200 Berkeley St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 9035 3438
F: +61 3 8344 4188

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 knowledge and skills to assess, plan and deliver safe, effective quality care to patients experiencing complex health states. 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 collaboration with allied disciplines in delivering health care to patients with acute complex health states, the importance of prevention based on health education and health promotion and the need to incorporate the individual, family and community in health management strategies. Throughout the subject there will be a focus on the nurse's role in risk reduction, early detection and prevention of chronic diseases and complex health states.

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 three to four patients.


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

  • identify ethical and legal principles of end of life support and enduring powers of attorney as they apply to nurse patient interactions;
  • demonstrate competence in completing a physical and psychosocial assessment;
  • assess the health education needs of individuals/families/carers in the acute and community setting;
  • identify and utilize strategies that facilitate a therapeutic nurse patient relationship;
  • 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 complex disease processes;
  • accurately and professionally document data collected by applying health assesment principles;
  • develop, implement, evaluate and revise comprehensive care plans for patients with complex acute/chronic illnesses;
  • demonstate skills in prioritising care and time management;
  • 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 an inter-professional team in the delivery of health care;
  • understand resource use and sustainability issues that require manangement within the healthcare system.

Theoretical Component 60%

1. 2,000 word Assignment (20%)
2. 3 hour exam (40%).

Clinical Component 40%

a) Clinical Practicum Performance Assessment Pass/Fail
b) Clinical Practice Analysis 1 x 2000 words 20%
c) 'Ticket to Clinical' A 10 minute Oral assessment conducted in the simulated learning laboratory 20%

Hurdle Component

Attendance at all Simulated Learning Laboratory sessions during the semester

Attendance at all professional experience placement days is compulsory

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

Prescribed Texts:

Perrin, R. (2011). Pocket guide to APA style (4th 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. (2010). Fundamentals of pharmacology (6th ed.). Australia: Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education.

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

Brotto, V. Rafferty, K. Clinicla dosage calculations: for Australia and New Zealand. (2012). Cengage Learning

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:

Download PDF version.