Clients with Complex Health States

Subject NURS90053 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 42 lectures/tutorials/seminars, 12 simulated learning laboratory sessions, 160 professional experience placement practicum
Total Time Commitment:

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


A pass in the following subjects prior to enrolment:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
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 8244 4171
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 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 simulated learning 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.

During the professional experience placement, 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 professional experience 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 to 4 patients.

Learning Outcomes:

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%) due week 8
2. 3 hour exam (40%)

Professional Experience Component 40%
a) Professional Experience Preparatory Practice Performance Assessment (PEPPA) (10 minute psychomotor assessment conducted in simulated learning laboratory) (20%)
b) Professional Experience Placement (PEP) Appraisal (Pass/Fail)
c) Professional Experience Practice Analysis (2000 words) due week 12 (20%)

Hurdle Components

  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
  4. A pass mark in the Exam

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

Prescribed Texts:

Brown, D., Edwards, H., Lewis, S. M., Dirksen, S. R., Heitkemper, M. M., O'brien, P. G., . . . Camera, I. (Eds.). (2012). Lewis's medical-surgical nursing: assessment and management of clinical problems (3rd ed.): Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier Australia.

Crisp, J., Taylor, C., Douglas, C., & Rebeiro, G. (Eds.). (2013). Potter and Perry's fundamentals of nursing / Australian adaptation (4th ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W: Elsevier Australia

Tollefson, J. (2012). Clinical psychomotor skills: Assessment skills for nurses (5th ed.). Melbourne: Cengage learning.

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

Ackley, B, J., & Ladwig, G. B. (2008). Nursing Diagnosis, An evidence based guide to planning care (8th ed.). St Louis: Mosby

Lapham, R. & Agar, H. (2009). Drug calculations for nurses: a step-by-step approach. (3 rd ed.). London: Hodder Arnold.

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

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

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

Stedman’s medical dictionary for the health professions and nursing. Australian and New Zealand Edition. (5 th ed.). (2005). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Education Innovations. (2007). Nursing Calculations (Version 6.3.0). (General Relativity Pty Ltd, CD-ROM).

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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