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92017 Health Assessment and Nursing Therapeutics

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Pass fail, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject focuses on assisting students to understand the role of the registered nurse (RN) and the way in which nursing care is planned and delivered in Australia. Students are introduced to nursing as a patient-centred therapeutic process and a skilled activity that aims to promote and maintain health in primary and acute care. Nursing is considered within a trans-disciplinary framework and emphasis is placed on comprehensive patient health assessments, promoting and maintaining health by encouraging and reinforcing positive health practices and preventing health breakdown through early detection and intervention. After the completion of this subject students have developed the knowledge and skills to identify patient needs, provide essential nursing care safely, and begun to understand actual and potential problems that can be experienced by patients. Students explore elective and emergency clinical presentations and propose and implement appropriate evidence-based interventions. Skills in prioritisation, effective verbal and written communication, clinical decision-making and an introduction to nursing leadership is incorporated. This subject facilitates a smooth transition into the accelerated program of the Bachelor of Nursing.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Describe the social, political and economic factors that have shaped RN education, practice and professional development (NMBA 1, 2)
B. Appreciate the leadership role of the Registered Nursing in contemporary Australian health care particularly as it is expressed in the health care team (NMBA 1, 2)
C. Understand the importance of, and techniques to, communicate appropriately and form relationships with clients, colleagues and members of the health care team (NMBA 8)
D. Undertake a health assessment using validated assessment techniques to identify alterations in the functional health patterns and identify priorities for care according to the patients presentation and acuity of illness (NMBA 5)
E. Explore the process of problem-solving and clinical decision making through the use of the nursing process and utilise evidence based practice to support the clinical decision making process (NMBA 3)
F. Accurately interpret data and utilise clinical judgement to implement appropriate interventions including beginning skills in the management of emergency situations (NMBA 7)
G. Identify appropriate evidence based therapeutic nursing and pharmacological interventions related to patients in acute care settings (NMBA 3)
H. Analyse the delivery of care to enhance the application of nursing, scientific, psychosocial and ethico-legal knowledge to practice (NMBA 5)
I. Appreciate the process of assessing patientsí learning needs and provide evidence based information and education to promote health and wellness, adherence with recommended health practices and participation in health management plans (NMBA 5)
J. Understand the need to provide nursing care that is culturally safe and consistent with the Code of Professional Conduct and the law for Nurses in Australia (NMBA 2)
K. Recognise the contribution of the interdisciplinary team to patient outcomes (NMBA 6, 8, 10)
L. Demonstrate technical competence at a beginning level in the application of safe, effective and efficient use of technology and resources in nursing practice (NMBA 3)
M. Practise safely through development of: nursing knowledge, skills and attributes; self reflection and recognition of learning needs; and application of culturally appropriate and environmental health and safety principles (NMBA 2,9)
N. Demonstrate appropriate NMBA clinical competencies including the ability to communicate in English with patients and staff in a simulated clinical environment (NMBA 5)

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Embody a professional disposition committed to excellence, equity and sustainability (1.0)
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively and respectfully with diverse groups (3.0)
  • Competently apply knowledge and skills to ensure safe and effective nursing practice (5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is undertaken in an intensive mode with students attending laboratories and lectures 3 days a week for 4 weeks. The learning and teaching strategies students will engage in for this subject are designed to support students learning in this intensive mode and to encourage students to engage with the nursing care of adults admitted to tertiary-care facilities with acute episodic medical-surgical conditions. Successful completion of this subject will determine whether the accelerated program of the Bachelor of Nursing is an appropriate course for students.

Online learning
To assist with study time management, students are required to engage in preparatory learning activities online. These learning resources, including access to websites, online videos and readings will be made available in UTSOnline. Online learning activities will be based on the patient case scenarios that will be explored in laboratories and include psychosocial issues, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and clinical psychomotor skills.

Case Scenarios
Cases are used to help students explore health related scenarios. Cases depict patients in elective and emergency clinical presentations to tertiary facilities. Students use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgments and develop creative solutions in relation to the Australian health care setting. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of and reflection on issues or situations.

Clinical skills, communication and simulation
Students participate in clinical laboratory sessions that focus on integration of key concepts and skills. In these sessions, students are introduced to a range of nursing skills, including assessment and interventions through simulation activities. Students learn and practice clinical and interpersonal skills with case scenarios in the laboratories. These practice scenarios incorporate the development of professional communication skills including professional and therapeutic communication required for nursing practice. The needs of students for whom English is an additional language will be taken into account and options for support in developing communication in English will be provided. Simulation activities are practical learning experiences designed to give students exposure to a comprehensive range of scenarios that may be encountered in practice. Activities include the use of audio-visual aids, interactive-computer programs and clinical equipment set-ups with mannequins, teaching staff or students as simulated patients.

This subject benefits from both the real time delivery of content and access to online resources. Face-to face lectures in this subject are designed to be participatory to engage students and enable them to clarify complex descriptions and terminology.

Content (topics)

  • Professional rules, regulations and standards: examination of competencies, codes of ethics and conduct in health care, as well as legal considerations and how the RN applies these to professional practice in contrast to other health workers.
  • Professional disposition: the centrality of the patient in the decision-making process; professional characteristics; collaboration with colleagues, inter-professional and intra-professional approaches to care: the role of the RN and the health care team.
  • Skills in health assessment and clinical judgement which enable patients at a primary care level to achieve optimal health. Applied health assessment tools will focus on Gordon’s Functional Health Patterns (GFHP) (1987). Basic skills are developed in interviewing, physical examination and consultation of diagnostic tests to collect relevant health assessment data and documentation, organisation and interpretation of that data. Models of clinical judgement are introduced including Tanner’s (2006) model of clinical decision making for health data analysis, identification of patient strengths and areas for improvement, planning and implementation of nursing interventions and evaluation of outcomes.
  • The centrality of concepts of person-centred care and collaborative relationships in therapeutic and active participation in managing health, patient education and supporting patients’ health literacy and providing patients with evidence based health information that enables them to assess their vulnerability to health problems and make informed decisions about their health management. To ensure consistency between the approved BN course and the BN(AGE), students will explore the same scenarios as the approved BN first year students.
  • Health maintenance issues are introduced: hygiene, mobility, infection control, and skin care practices. Students develop skills in safety risk assessment and implementation of strategies that promote environmental health and safety for patients and themselves.
  • Patient-centred care delivery working collaboratively with the multi-disciplinary team to achieve patient oriented goals and outcomes. Further, the importance of timely and effective communication will be emphasised in relation to collaborative care and team work within the multidisciplinary team.
  • The nursing interview: introduction to therapeutic relationships; differentiating between social and professional relationships; the social and psychological factors that impact on nurse/patient relationships; beginning relationships with patients and families; processes and stages of the nursing interview; interview techniques for different patient and family encounters; interpersonal skills and skills that facilitate a partnership orientation such as listening, empathetic understanding, responding appropriately and emotional intelligence.
  • The concept of clinical judgement in acute care settings will be further developed to enable evidence based safe practice. Throughout, Tanner’s (2006) model of clinical judgement will be utilised to develop students clinical decision making.
  • Respect for cultural identity, ethical considerations and resource availability will be integrated throughout the subject.

Skills that will be covered in this subject include:

  • Personal care: Hygiene: bed making, shower/bath, bed bath and oral care; Nutrition and feeding: Feeding a dependent patient; Elimination: assisted, urinary catheter care and bowel care; Assisted ambulation; and Skin integrity: assessment and pressure area care.
  • Clinical Assessment and monitoring: Vital signs: TPR BP; Recording vital signs; Recording fluid input and output; Physical assessment: weight height, BMI, GFHP; Using a stethoscope; Pain assessment; Respiratory assessment; Pulse oximetry; Cardiovascular assessment; Cardiac monitoring; Blood glucose monitoring; Neurovascular assessment; Abdominal assessment; Nutritional assessment; Assessment of Fluid balance; Ward analysis; and Mini mental health assessment.
  • Clinical communication and documentation: Admission; Clinical handover; Care planning; Reporting care; Reporting vital signs; Recording fluid intake output; Using and maintaining patient records; Multidisciplinary communication; and Negotiating care with Patient/client and families.
  • Privacy and dignity: Respectful care; Confidentiality; and Cultural and transcultural care.
  • Clinical Interventions and Management: Basic life support (Mastery); Wound care: dry dressing; and Pain management non-pharmacological.
  • Risk and Safety: Hand hygiene; Hand washing for invasive procedures; Gowning and gloving; and Infection control.


Assessment task 1: Clinical documentation


Nurses accountability to the patient within the multidisciplinary team is reflected in clinical documentation. Nursing documentation must therefore be an accurate, comprehensive and concise account of the care provided to the patient.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

C, L and N

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 3.0 and 5.0

Weight: Mandatory task that does not contribute to subject mark

60 minutes

Assessment task 2: Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)


The Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) will assess students' ability to transfer learning experiences for laboratories to simulated clinical practice.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

C, D, E, F, G, I, J, L, M and N

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

3.0 and 5.0

Weight: Mandatory task that does not contribute to subject mark

15 minutes

Assessment task 3: Concept review quizzes


To assess understanding of content covered in intensive mode, students will complete short online quizzes at the end of the first 3 weeks.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, D, F, G, H and K

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0 and 5.0

Weight: Mandatory task that does not contribute to subject mark

3 quizzes, each quiz comprises 15 questions.

Required texts

Brown, D., Edwards, H., Seaton, L., Buckley, T., Lewis, S., Dirksen, S., Heitkemper, M., & Bucher, L. 2015, Lewis’s Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, 4th Edition, Elsevier, Sydney, Australia

Tiziani, A. 2013, Havard's nursing guide to drugs, 9th edn, Elsevier Australia, Sydney.

Tollefson, J., & Hillman., E. 2016, Clinical Psychomotor Skills: Assessment Tools for Nurses, 6th Edition, Cengage, South Melbourne, Australia.

Students are advised to acquire their own copies of these texts. A limited number of copies of these texts are available at the UTS library on closed reserve. Any other readings or resources, other than textbooks, will be available via links from within UTSOnline. Required weekly readings for this subject will be advised on UTSOnline prior to the lectures and tutorials.

NB: It is essential that the students complete all required readings. The required readings will be considered assumed knowledge for laboratory classes and assessments.

Recommended texts

Crisp, L., Taylor, C., Douglas, C. & Rebeiro, G. 2013, Potter and Perry's fundamentals of nursing, 4th edn, Elsevier Australia, Sydney.

Harris, P., Nagy, S., & Vardaxis, N. 2014, Mosby's dictionary of medicine, nursing and the health professions, 3rd edn, Elsevier Australia, Sydney.

Irvine, J.L. 2014, A guide to Australian healthcare acronyms and abbreviations (AHAA): To assist with interpreting clinical handover, 2nd edn, JLI Nurse Education Consultancy, Melbourne. (or search AHAA on the Apple Store or Google Play for a $5 app version)


Refer to UTSOnline for access to up to date references for this subject. Links to references are provided on UTSOnline.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are allocated not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.