Nursing Assessment & Care

Subject NURS50004 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: TOTAL 174 hours - 36 hours lectures/tutorials/seminars, 18 hours clinical laboratory sessions, 120 hours professional experience placement
Total Time Commitment:

Students are expected to devote approximately 12 hours a week to this subject.


Completion of an online Manual Handling module prior to clinical placement



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
Alan Gilbert Building

Level 7, 161 Barry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 4171
F: +61 3 8344 4188

Subject Overview:

In this subject students will develop knowledge and clinical skills to enable them to perform comprehensive health assessment across the lifespan using a culturally sensitive nursing framework. Students will gain an understanding of nurses’ roles and responsibilities in a variety of settings in which nursing takes place including; general practice, aged care, community and acute care settings. Students will be introduced to the recovery oriented model of nursing, develop skills in physical assessment techniques, data collection, problem identification, prioritisation, framing and solving and the documentation of data collected during health assessment. The focus in this subject is on assessment findings to enable students to identify variations to these. Throughout the subject there will be a focus on examining the health care system from the perspective of factors that can affect patient outcomes and the importance of identifying, critically appraising and integrating evidence into clinical practice. Using safety and quality as a framework students will examine trends in critical incidents that result in adverse outcomes for patients. They will also be introduced to emerging strategies in health care that seek to improve safety and quality and consider the role of the nurse in leading these efforts at a clinical and organisational level. Students will be exposed to a range of nursing skills, strategies for symptom management, selected diagnostic investigations and treatment interventions. Students commence the development of knowledge and skills related to therapeutic medication administration, the principles of the ‘quality use of medicines’ and drug administration for selected medications.

In the simulated learning laboratory, through facilitated clinical practice, students will develop skills relating to a comprehensive systems based patient physical and health assessment, infection prevention, basic nursing interventions and enteral medication administration.

During the professional experience placement, under the guidance of clinical educators and clinical preceptors, students will gain experience in settings that enable them to meet the learning objectives of this subject.

The major focus for the professional experience placement component of this subject is the integration of the principles of health assessment, safe and effective 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 and adjust care accordingly for 1 to 2 patients.

Learning Outcomes:

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

  • identify and utilise strategies that facilitate a therapeutic nurse patient relationship;
  • identify appropriate sources of information for relevant questions;
  • demonstrate skills in searching electronic databases;
  • demonstrate skill in critical appraisal of the research literature including application to practice to inform evidence based practice;
  • identify ethical and legal principles of advocacy as they apply to nurse-patient interactions;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of assessment frameworks for practice in the acute and community setting;
  • demonstrate the capacity to conduct a comprehensive systems based patient assessment;
  • develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of clinical decision making;
  • integrate health assessment into assisting clients with self care activities and selected nursing interventions;
  • demonstrate the capacity to safely administer and evaluate the use and outcomes of select oral, topical and inhalant medications;
  • demonstrate the capacity to provide accurate written health assessment data using appropriate terminology;
  • apply clinical decision making to patients with a changing healthcare status;
  • communicate verbally and in writing in a professional manner with the patient, their families and other members of the health care team;
  • understand the health care system as a potential source of adverse events for patients;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the key contemporary safety and quality issues in Australian and International healthcare;
  • identify and discuss factors in the clinical setting that relate to resource use and sustainability.

Theoretical Component - 60%

  1. 2,000 word assignment - Week 6 (20%)
  2. 3 hour exam - Exam Peridod (40%)

Professional Experience Component - 40%

a) Professional Experience Placement Appraisal (PEP)(Pass/Fail)

b) Professional Experience Practice Analysis 1 x 2,000 words due week 12 (20%)

c) Professional Experience Preparatory Practice Performance Assessment (PEPPA) 10 minute Psychomotor Assessment conducted in the Simulated Learning Laboratory (20%)

Hurdle Component

  1. Attendance at all Simulated Learning Laboratory sessions during the semester
  2. PEPPA (Must pass component for attendance at PEP)
  3. Attendance at all professional experience placement (PEP) days is compulsory

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

Prescribed Texts:

Brown, D., & Edwards, H. (2012). Lewis’ medical-surgical nursing (3rd ed.). Sydney: Elsevier Mosby

Bullock, S., Manias, E., & Galbraith, A. (2010). Fundamentals of pharmacology (6th ed.). Australia: Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education.

Education Innovations. (2007). Nursing Calculations (Version 6.0.0). ( General Relativity Pty Ltd, CD-ROM 2007 release).

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

Perrin, R. (2012). Pocket guide to APA style (4th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin College.

Tollefson, J. (2010). Clinical Psychomotor Skills (4th ed.). Australia: Cengage Learning.

Weber, J., & Kelly, J. (2011). Health Assessment in Nursing (First Australian and New Zealand Edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer 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

Levitt-Jones, T. & Bourgeois, S. (2007). The clinical placement: an essential guide for nursing students. Sydney: Churchill-Livingstone/Elsevier.

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

Thompson, C. & Dowding, D. (Ed). (2008). Clinical decision making and judgement in nursing. Edinburgh: Churchill-Livingstone/Elsevier.

Weber, J.R. (2007). Nurses’ handbook of health assessment. (6th Ed.) Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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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