University of Technology Sydney

92430 Assessment and Therapeutics in Health Care 1

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 2024 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.


Students are introduced to nursing as a therapeutic process and skilled activity that aims to promote and maintain health through collaborative partnerships with patients at a primary care level. Health is viewed as a dynamic phenomenon which varies as the individual transitions through a cyclical continuum of health and wellness, disease and illness. Determinants of health encompass a range of factors including lifestyle, disability and chronic health conditions.

Students develop understanding of the nurse's role within an interprofessional team, undertaking comprehensive patient health assessments, promoting and maintaining health by encouraging and reinforcing positive health practices and preventing health breakdown through early detection and intervention. Students learn how the nurse supports patients to be active participants in managing their health, facilitating health literacy through the provision of health information and education. The nurse provides person-centred care that empowers patients to achieve their optimum health outcomes by facilitating improvement and adaptation within the context of their individual sociocultural environment, needs, abilities and resources. Students practice within the framework of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) national competency standards for registered nurses and the Patient Safety Competency Framework (PSCF).

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Perform nursing assessments using frameworks and techniques appropriate to a beginning practitioner (RN Standards for Practice 1, 4, 5, 6, 7).
B. Describe the characteristics of an effective healthcare team and discuss the meaning and principles of therapeutic communication (RN Standards for Practice 2, 6).
C. Demonstrate clinical reasoning, critical thinking, self-awareness and the ability to reflect on practice appropriate for a beginning practitioner (RN Standards for Practice 1, 3, 4, 5, 6).
D. Identify factors that have the potential to compromise safe medication practices (RN Standards for Practice 1, 2, 5, 6).
E. Demonstrate academic writing and researching skills appropriate for a beginning nursing student (RN Standards for Practice 1, 5, 6).
F. Demonstrate appropriate NMBA Practice Standards, including effective verbal and non-verbal communication techniques in clinical settings using English language (RN Standards for Practice 1 - 7).

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)
  • Engage in person-centred care that is appropriately sensitive to the needs of individuals, families and communities (2.0)
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively and respectfully with diverse groups (3.0)
  • Inquire critically to assess a body of evidence to inform practice (4.0)
  • Competently apply knowledge and skills to ensure safe and effective nursing practice (5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject, you will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to encourage you to engage with nursing care of patients in a clinical setting.

Each 6 unit subject requires at least 140 hours of work (including face-to-face and self-directed learning activities) to successfully complete academic requirements.

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 and simulation activities. Simulation activities are practical learning experiences designed to give students exposure to a range of scenarios that may be encountered in practice. Activities include the use of audio-visual aids and clinical equipment set-ups with mannequins, teaching staff or students as simulated patients/consumers. 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. There will be opportunities for students to receive formative feedback from tutors during the laboratory sessions.

In this subject students spoken communications skills for interacting with patients and staff will be assessed before and during clinical practice. Students who are assessed as having unsatisfactory spoken communication must attend the Clinically Speaking programme which is designed to improve students spoken language for clinical practice.

Case scenarios
Cases are used to help students explore health related scenarios. Cases depict patients/consumers and their families in an acute care setting. Students use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgements and develop creative solutions. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of and reflection on issues or situations.

Online learning
Each laboratory session will require students to access online resources including websites, online videos and readings and undertake learning activities that are relevant to each week’s topic prior to the laboratory session. It is expected that students attend laboratory sessions having completed the preparatory readings, online resources and learning activities, to gain a beneficial learning experience from the laboratory session.

Clinical placement
In this subject students complete 80 hours of clinical placement experience. Placements are provided in acute care hospitals and in rehabilitation facilities in metropolitan locations. Under supervision, students provide nursing care to patients within inter-professional teams to develop and consolidate their knowledge, skills and attributes.

Blended lectures (mixture of face-to-face and online) are provided to enable students to clarify, discuss and develop subject concepts.

Information technologies and academic writing
In conjunction with other first semester subjects this subject will introduce students to the academic practice of searching for and using evidence. Information technologies will be used by students to access relevant evidence based guidelines related to health assessment and health promotion in addition to resources suitable for encouraging patient participation in health management. Students will learn to effectively read professional and scholarly literature relevant to beginning clinical practice. Students will begin to write in ways that are appropriate for different purposes and contexts and will read a range of texts for professional and scholarly purposes.

Content (topics)

Content is focused on providing students with introductory level evidence based nursing concepts and practices based on technical and non-technical skills in health assessment enabling students to begin developing a novice level of excellence in clinical practice using a clinical reasoning framework. Basic skills are developed in conversations with patients, physical examination and consultation of diagnostic tests to collect relevant health assessment data and documentation, organisation and interpretation of that data. The Clinical Reasoning Cycle (Levett-Jones, 2018) is introduced and applied to patient stories as a model for use as a systematic and cyclical process in clinical decision-making for health data analysis, identification of problems/issues, planning and implementation of nursing interventions, evaluation of outcomes and reflection.

Person-centred care, cultural competence and collaborative relationships are central concepts to this subject and are introduced and aligned with physical assessment and the Patient Safety Competency Framework. Students are provided with tools to develop effective communication skills aimed at developing therapeutic relationships with patients and members of the healthcare team.

Patient stories are introduced in this subject and continued in Assessment and Therapeutics in Health Care 2. The scenarios are based on community members from varied age groups (elderly, middle adulthood and young adulthood) situated in the community and whom the nurse encounters in a primary care setting. Use of patient stories allows students to learn by active engagement how to assess patients’ health while practising clinical decision-making including identification of problems/issues, nursing interventions and the process of the patient journey through the healthcare system.

Health maintenance issues are introduced drawing upon various resources such as the Essentials of Care program (NSW Health: Nursing and Midwifery Office, 2014), Patient Safety Competency Framework (Levett-Jones et al., 2018) and the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (ACSQHC, 2021) including hygiene, falls prevention, preventing and controlling health care associated infections, cultural safety, preventing, minimising and responding to adverse events, medication safety, and skin care practices.

Students in this subject develop skills in safety risk assessment and implementation of strategies that promote environmental health and safety for patients and themselves. As an important aspect of safe practice, students reflect on their learning and development and identify plans to address their learning needs.

Clinical placement provides a learning experience in which students apply their knowledge, skills and abilities related to health assessment, health promotion and health maintenance. Students are guided to use their clinical placement as an opportunity to assess patients’ health, identify strengths, community supports and resources in addition to identifying the patients’ needs related to admission to health care facility. With this understanding, students are encouraged to use clinical judgement to identify and plan health care that prepares patients for return to their communities. The role and expectations of the nurse in the clinical setting is explored with a focus on self-care, self-awareness and reflective practice. Students will be provided with an induction process to equip them for their initial experience in the clinical setting and to prepare them for potentially traumatic events that can be experienced during clinical placement.

Activity sets/key skills addressed in this subject include:

Personal care:
Assisted ambulation; hygiene: bed making, shower/bath, bed bath, oral care; skin integrity: assessment; elimination; and nutrition

Clinical communication and documentation:
Recording vital signs; recording fluid input and output; using and maintaining patient records; introduction to handover and ISBAR; culturally safe communication; partnering in decision making with patient/client families; discharge planning

Clinical assessment and monitoring:
Vital signs: TPR BP Sp02; physical assessment: A-H; blood glucose measurement; beginning health assessment

Clinical interventions and management:
Basic life support (novice level); cultural competence; privacy and dignity; respectful care; confidentiality

Risk and safety:
Hand hygiene; infection control; manual handling; self-care and reflective practice

Taking a medication history; introduction to medication administration and safety


Assessment task 1: Online Quiz


The purpose of this assessment is to assess student knowledge and understanding of normal and abnormal vital signs and beginning ability to identify and differentiate between normal and abnormal vital signs. Basic nursing terminology and beginning phases of the clinical reasoning are also assessed as part of this quiz.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, C and E

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Quiz/test
Weight: 20%

40 questions in 45 minutes

Assessment task 2: In-class Test


The purpose of this assessment is to enable students to begin practicing critical thinking and clinical judgement in relation to holistic patient assessment, as well as demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the subject content.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and F

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Quiz/test
Weight: 30%

2 hours

Assessment task 3: Clinical Reasoning Written Assessment


The purpose of this assessment is to enable students to:

  • Develop clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills for use in clinical practice
  • Develop an understanding of the importance of person-centred care and effective therapeutic communication to safe nursing practice
  • Identify factors that may potentially compromise safe medication practices develop skills in reflective practice
  • Access, critique and utilise academic and evidence based resources and present their work in an Academic style.

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C, D, E and F

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

2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Weight: 50%

1500 words (maximum)

Assessment task 4: Clinical Placement


Students undertake a two week clinical placement experience that will prepare them for practice in the real clinical workforce. Students will have the opportunity to practice skills to consolidate their learning and receive feedback from tutors during participation in the weekly laboratory sessions.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and F

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0


80 hours

Required texts

Berman, A., Snyder, S., Levett-Jones, T., Dwyer, T., Hales, M., Harvey, N., Moxham, L., Langtree, T., Parker, B., Reid-Searl, K. & Stanley, D. (2018). (Eds). Kozier and Erb’s fundamentals of nursing: concepts, process and practice (4th ed.). Pearson Australia.

Berman, A., Snyder, S., Levett-Jones, T., Burton, P. & Harvey, N. (2021) Skills in clinical nursing (2nd ed.). Pearson Australia.

Levett-Jones, T. (2018). Clinical reasoning: learning to think like a nurse (2nd ed.). Pearson Australia.

Levett-Jones, T. & Bourgeois, S. (2018). The clinical placement: an essential guide for nursing students (4th ed.). Elsevier.

Limited copies of these texts are available at the UTS library on closed reserve.

The required weekly readings from these texts will be advised on UTS Canvas prior to the lectures and tutorials for this subject.

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 ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. 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.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
?The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or