University of Technology Sydney

92449 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 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks


This subject assists students in understanding the role of the registered nurse in contemporary health care and the way nursing care is planned and delivered in the Australian context.

Students are introduced to nursing as a person-centred, evidence-based and highly skilled profession aimed at promoting health, providing intervention in situations of health breakdown and supporting recovery. Students explore the process of clinical judgement at a foundational level in the care of adults admitted to hospital. Skills in health assessment, holistic patient-centred and clinical care, professional communication including clinical handover and documentation, team work, application of evidenced-based practice, health promotion and health education are developed in a simulated clinical setting.

Through the exploration of clinical situations, students are guided to develop skills in prioritisation, clinical decision-making and professional communication.The interprofessional nature of nursing work, the essential need for nursing leadership, and the imperatives of quality and safety are conveyed throughout.

This subject facilitates a smooth transition into the accelerated program of the Bachelor of Nursing (C10122).

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Identify alterations in a person’s functional health patterns and identify priorities for care according to the patient’s presentation and acuity of illness using validated health assessment techniques (RN Standards for Practice 4.1; 4.2; 5.1; 6.1).
B. Interpret data and utilise clinical judgement to implement appropriate interventions at a beginning level in the management of acute situations (RN Standards for Practice 1.1; 1.2; 5.1; 7.1;7.2)
C. Develop collaborative relationships and communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and patients to deliver optimal care in a coordinated and efficient manner (RN Standards for Practice 1.6; 2.1; 2.2; 2.7; 2.8; 7.3).
D. Demonstrate patient, environmental and organisational safety including risk management to support safe working environments and practices for self, patient and colleagues (RN Standards for Practice 2.7; 6).
E. Identify the impact of altered health status on patients and develop goals and outcomes that aim to promote recovery or to assist patients in adapting to their altered health status (RN Standards for Practice 3.2; 3.7; 4.3).
F. Use evidence based practice to support the clinical decision making process (RN Standards for Practice 1.1; 1.2; 5.1).
G. Practice person centred nursing care that is culturally safe and consistent with the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia (RN Standards for Practice 1.3; 1.4; 2.2; 2.5)
H. Practice within the NMBA Registered Nurse Standards for Practice including the ability to communicate in English with patients and staff in the clinical placement environment (RN Standards for Practice 2.2; 6.5).

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • 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

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 on 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 manikins, 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/reasoning: which enable patients at a primary care level to achieve optimal
health. Applied health assessment tools will focus on Health Patterns. 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 models of clinical decision making & reasoning 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, models of clinical judgement/reasoning will be utilised to develop students clinical decision making.

Respect for cultural identity, ethical considerations and resource availability will be integrated throughout the subject.

Clinical Skills

Personal care:
Assisted ambulation
Hygiene: bed making, shower/ bedbath & oral care
Skin integrity: assessment & pressure area care
Elimination: bowel & urinary care
Nutrition and feeding: feeding a dependant patient

Clinical communication and documentation:
Clinical handover
Care planning
Reporting care
Recording & reporting vital signs
Recording fluid intake output
Using and maintaining patient records
Multiprofessional communication
Negotiating care with Patient/client and families

Clinical assessment and monitoring:
Vital signs: TPR BP Sp02
Recording & assessing vital signs
Recording & assessing fluid input and output
Physical assessment: weight height, BMI, GFHP
Using a stethoscope
Pain assessment
Respiratory assessment
Cardiovascular assessment
Neurovascular assessment
Abdominal assessment
Nutritional assessment
Cardiac monitoring
Blood glucose monitoring
Peri-operative assessment
Post-operative assessment
Mini Mental health Assessment

Clinical interventions and management:
Basic life support
Wound care: aseptic non-touch technique dressing
Pain management non-pharmacological

Privacy and dignity:
Respectful care
Cultural and transcultural care

Promoting self-management:
Health education and health promotion

Risk and safety:
Hand hygiene
Hand washing for invasive procedures
Infection control

Medications, intravenous therapy and blood products:
Safe checking, administration, documentation and disposal of oral medications
Medication dosage calculations


Assessment task 1: Concept Review Quizzes


This assessment aims to assess students comprehension of the content covered in; lectures, lab class and online learning activities. The three short quizzes offer early feedback to students to provide an opportunity to review any potential gaps in their knowledge.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, D and F

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

3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Quiz/test
Weight: 15%

Each quiz will be 10 questions in 15 minutes

Assessment task 2: Clinical Documentation


This assessment enables students to demonstrate clinical reasoning skills and nursing accountability at a first year level. Effective clinical reasoning skills have a positive effect on patient outcomes. They are essential for patient safety, the provision of best practice care, early detection of deterioration, appropriate management of risks and the prevention of adverse outcomes for patient. Nursing documenation must be accurate, comprehensive and provide a concise account of the care provided to the patient.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, G and H

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

2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Case study
Weight: 45%

60 mins

Assessment task 3: Objective Structured Clinical Examination


The Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate application of knowledge, clinical reasoning skills and clinical competence to a variety of simulated clinical case studies.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H

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

2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Type: Laboratory/practical
Weight: 40%

60 minutes

Assessment task 4: English Language Communication


To determine whether students’ spoken level of English language is at a level that is safe for progression to 2nd year of BN.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

C, D, G and H

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


Minimum requirements

Compulsory Assessment item.

Required texts

Berman, A., Snyder, S., Levett-Jones, T., Burton, P. & Harvey, N. 2018, Skills in clinical nursing, Pearson Australia, Melbourne, VIC.

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

Tiziani, A. 2017, Havard's nursing guide to drugs, 10th edn, Elsevier Australia, Sydney.

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 laboratories.

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

Levett-Jones, T. & Reid-Searl, K. 2018, The clinical placement: an essential guide for nursing students, 4th edn, Elsevier, Chatswood, NSW.

Brown, D., Edwards, H., Buckley, T. & Aitken, R. L. (eds) 2020, Lewis’s medical-surgical nursing: assessment and management of clinical problems, 5th edn, Elsevier Australia, Chatswood, NSW.

Martin, E. A., & McFerran, T. A., 2017, A Dictionary of Nursing, 7th edn, Oxford University Press, UK.

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

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:

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.