University of Technology, Sydney

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92878 Care of the Child in Illness and Disability

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: Grade and marks

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


This subject extends the student's theoretical knowledge for practice in paediatric nursing. The relationship between scientific and nursing knowledge and informed practice is emphasised. Health breakdown in infants, children and adolescents, related pathophysiology and epidemiology, assessment and diagnostics, as well as illness and disability are examined. Therapeutic interventions and nursing management for infants, children and adolescents with health breakdown states and disability are also evaluated. Issues related to growth and development, mental health, families and the development of paediatric nursing as a specialty are explored.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Critically review the impact of growth and development on infants, children and adolescents affected by health breakdown, chronic illness or disability
B. Explain the relevant pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnostics and therapies in health breakdown, chronic illness and disability in infants, children and adolescents to enable high-level and age appropriate assessments
C. Discuss the principles of nursing care and optimal communication for infants, children and adolescents with health breakdown or disability and their families
D. Validate the experience and consider the impact on parents and families when health breakdown, disability or the need for long term technology occurs in an infant, child or adolescent
E. Evaluate the resource implications for the institution, community and the family when a child is dependent on technology
F. Assess and reflect on the needs of the child with a mental health problem, and the impact on his/her family
G. Evaluate and contribute to the development of paediatric nursing as a specialty and the current professional issues in children’s nursing practice, including evidence based practice and professional standards

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Are reflective critical thinkers who contribute to practice, policy, and research to enhance health care and health outcomes (1.0)
  • Are socially, culturally and ethically accountable and consider health care in a global context (3.0)
  • Communicate appropriately and consistently in diverse situations (4.0)
  • Embody the professional qualities appropriate to the scope of their role (5.0)
  • Demonstrate professional cultural competency which contributes to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, inclusive of physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellness (6.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is designed to help students understand the complexities associated with childhood chronic illness and disability and the impact on the family. This subject is undertaken in a blended approach with students attending three days during the teaching period accompanied by integrated learning in the online environment. This approach to teaching and learning is responsive to the needs of postgraduate students who need to balance study with their professional and personal commitments.

Lectures and online learning materials
This subject benefits from both the real time delivery of content and access to resources via UTSOnline, including podcasts, videos and learning modules. Face to face lectures enable students to engage with experts within the field of contemporary paediatric nursing, and the guest lecturers will help students put theory into practice by sharing their professional clinical journey. The guest lecturers will prompt research inspired group discussion of contemporary paediatric practice and extend students’ reflection on practice to include national and international perspectives. Class sessions help students to quickly clarify complex descriptions and terminology, and engage with sensitive or confronting topics such as long-term disability and quality of life issues for the child and family.

Case based scenarios and collaboration
Ethical and legal cases are used to help students explore chronic health and disability related scenarios in babies, children and adolescents. Cases depict clinical situations and will explore issues related to the family, and students will collaborate and use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgements and develop solutions. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of and reflection on issues or situations. Self, peer and teacher feedback is provided to develop students' judgement.

Flexibility with assessment choices
Students create their own plans for learning, developed via feedback and self-reflection helping students recognise the connections between their prior knowledge and experiences and new information. Students will be encouraged to publish their written assessment.

Collaboration on assessment tasks
Students collaborate in group assessments and continue this communication through discussion boards in the online environment. They also engage in collaborative group activities culminating in a group presentation. Students will be giving feedback to, and receiving feedback from their peers.

Pre-session learning
Students access online learning resources such as podcasts, videos and literature prior to attending face-to face sessions to facilitate discussion in class resulting in shared learning, experiences and reflections.

The specific session will be detailed in the session grid and all resources will be located on UTSOnline.

Content (topics)

This subject covers a range of topics and issues relevant for paediatric nurses to meet the developmental, physiological and behavioural needs of infants/children/adolescents and their families in the health care system. This includes breakdown of health across body systems, chronic health states, mental health issues, aetiology and management of disability and the effects of health breakdown and disability on parents and families.


Assessment task 1: Critical evaluation of the literature in relation to an area of practice


This contributes to student learning by assisting students to develop a deeper understanding of some of the underpinning theoretical constructs that impact on the family unit when a child suffers a major trauma and requires intensive care, extensive rehabilitation and ongoing therapy to achieve the best possible outcome; an outcome that could leave the child permanently disabled.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, D, E and G

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

1.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Essay
Weight: 50%
Length: 1,500 - 2,000 words

Students will receive feedback on written work in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Depth of exploration supported by the literature related to chronic illness / disability
  • Reflection on the family experience in caring for a child with chronic illness, disability or requiring rehabilitation
  • Role of the paediatric nurse in supporting the child and family
  • Recommendations about how the findings can be imbedded in clinical practice to improve the child and family experience

Assessment task 2: Participation in online discussion


This contributes to student learning by assisting students to consider important aspects of current and emerging trends in paediatric nursing care. It also develops their capacity for critical judgement in relationship to those trends. It will also enhance their capacity for critical self reflection and peer feedback.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, C, D, E and G

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

1.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 30%

Students will receive feedback on their contribution to the discussion board in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Level of exploration and analysis of the issues related to the discussion topics
  • Thoughtful responses and supported argument in replying to other student's postings
  • Evidence of and use of appropriate literature and other resources

Assessment task 3: Working together and sharing knowledge


Contributes to student learning by assisting the student to develop their capacity to present information effectively.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and G

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

1.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 20%

Students and groups will receive feedback on the content of their presentation and their presentation skills in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Evidence of research into chosen topicle of the paediatric nurse or issues related to paediatric nursing
  • Analysis and critique of chosen topic
  • Presentation skills - management of creative interesting and informative presentation
  • The role of the paediatric nurse and how the topic impacts on paediatric nursing
  • Evidence of individual contribution to the group project

Minimum requirements

All assessment tasks must be completed and submitted to meet the requirements of this subject.

Required texts

Koenig, C. 2008, Paper Cranes: A mother's story of hope, courage and determination, Exisle Publishing, Sydney.

A copy of this book can be found in the library and online via the library website (see UTSOnline for details). It is also available for buying and downloading for E-Readers and IPADS and other devices (See UTSOnline for details).


Students are encouraged to browse websites, and many resources are available online, including hotlinks through Mosby and library services, allowing access to journals through online databases.

A comprehensive list of references has been included in eReadings accessible through the UTS Library. However, this list is not intended to be exhaustive and students are expected to search the literature independently and to read widely.

Additional material will be available through the library eReadings - this can be accessed via UTSOnline.

Other resources

UTS Student Centres
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 ( uts-health-student-guide.pdf) and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given 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 UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

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