University of Technology Sydney

92462 Health and Society

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.


This subject allows students to develop understanding of the philosophy and expression of primary health care, health promotion and community development as the basis for therapeutic nursing practice in the community. The influence of power and politics on health care and the implications for patients are also explored. Students appreciate the dynamic and diverse nature of the community and the principles and practice of community health nursing. Health promotion and primary health care as defined by the World Health Organization and the social determinants of health form the framework for this subject. Knowledge of the social determinants of health and how they affect people's lives before, during and after illness is necessary for students to develop empathy and understanding of individual circumstances. Empathy and understanding are intrinsic to all nursing practice.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Outline the philosophy, principles and practices of Primary Health Care (PHC) and how this translates into practice (RN Standards for Practice 1 and 5).
B. Identify and demonstrate an understanding of the social determinants of health (individual, environmental and social factors) that have the potential to impact the health and wellbeing of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians and their implications for nursing practice (RN Standards for Practice 1).
C. Recognise current health issues pertaining to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians and employ a strengths-based, upstreaming approach aimed to facilitate empowerment and improved health outcomes (RN Standards for Practice 1, 2 and 3).
D. Demonstrate ability to communicate key subject concepts in a style appropriate to purpose and context through reading, questioning and using relevant professional and scholarly evidence (RN Standards for Practice 3).
E. Reflect on the impact of the practitioners own values, attitudes and beliefs as they engage in the professional role (RN Standards for Practice 1)

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)
  • Competently apply knowledge and skills to ensure safe and effective nursing practice (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

In this subject, you will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to encourage you to engage and learn about health and our society. 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.

There are no face to face lectures in this subject. All content is presented using a variety of face to face and online teaching and learning strategies.

Pre Workshop Preparation
To get the most out of the on-campus sessions, students are expected to complete the programmed pre-workshop learning activities prior to attending workshops.These activities will form the basis of group discussions and practical activities that students will engage in during workshop.Therefore you will need to allow time for self-directed study and assignment preparation in addition to hours on campus. As a general rule, for every hour of face to face teaching you should allow 1-2 hours of self-directed study that includes pre-work and assignment preparation.

Workshops provide students an opportunity to explore, analyse, interpret and reflect on the complex relationships that exist between health and society. Participation in workshops will support the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Working both individually and in groups, students will increase their evidence-based knowledge and understanding of the subject area, and gain confidence in communicating their thoughts in a clear, coherent, and confident manner.

Online Learning
This subject benefits from the provision of on-line learning resources. These resources will enable students to review subject content, engage with pre workshop preparation activities and support their learning during workshops. Access to websites, online videos and literature relevant to the subject contribute to these learning resources.

Academic Writing
Assessment tasks for this subject will provide opportunities for students to demonstrate information literacy through searching and synthesising the professional literature to answer the assessment questions. Students are expected to comply with academic writing practices with integrity and use information ethically, legally and respectfully.

English Language
An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills in order to succeed at university and in the workplace. To determine your current English academic language proficiency, you are required to complete an online language screening task, OPELA (information available at If you receive a Basic grade for OPELA, you must attend additional Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. The development of these tutorials is a university-wide initiative designed to provide personalised support and enhance students’ English academic language skills. They will focus on developing your communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and your independent learning skills, which will help you to prepare for the subject assessment tasks and for professional workplace communication tasks.

Content (topics)

The concepts that underpin this subject are: Primary Health Care (PHC); The Social Determinants of Health (SDH); Health Promotion; Public Health.

This subject will:

  • Introduce the principles and practice of PHC
  • Explore definitions of ‘health’ and ‘community’, and the different ways in which health can be effected within our contemporary Australian environment
  • Discuss health inequality and inequity, social justice, minority and disadvantaged groups.
  • Explore contemporary and historically rooted environmental health concerns and the importance of sustainable projects and resources within the context of health
  • Explore the influences of power, politics and health care
  • Allow for students to develop a working knowledge of key Australian demographic information (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) and discuss how this is incorporated into health care and nursing
  • Explore of the concepts and principles of epidemiology, and the role of PHC nurses in assessing and using the relevant data bases
  • Explore the application of health promotion and education, and examine current policy and identified priority areas, and how this relates to nursing practice
  • Discuss the role of community development and capacity building within the PHC nurse’s role, including how a nurse can be an agent for change
  • Increase understanding of the PHC nurse’s values, attitudes and beliefs, and how PHC principles can guide all nursing practice


Assessment task 1: Reflection on Health


This assessment will assist students develop their perception of health. It will also introduce students to referencing material referred in the assessment task.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, D and E

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

1.0, 2.0 and 3.0

Weight: 20%

600 words.

Assessment task 2: Health Promotion Campaign - individual report


This activity provides you with an opportunity to develop skills in analysis and synthesis of evidence aimed to inform clinical practice and take a creative approach to demonstrate understanding of theory in practice.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C and D

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

3.0, 5.0 and 6.0

Weight: 40%

1500 words

Assessment task 3: Case analysis


This activity requires analysis and synthesis of evidence aimed to inform your practice and provides an opportunity for English language assessment


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

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

2.0, 3.0, 5.0 and 6.0

Weight: 40%

1500 words

Minimum requirements

It is a requirement of this subject that all students complete OPELA. Students who received a Basic grade in the OPELA test are required to attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. Please see the UTS Student Rules Section 3.8 (detailed under ‘other resources’).

Required texts

There is no compulsory text book for this subject. All required material will be available via links from within UTSOnline. Please bring the readings and any other relevant content to the tutorial class in the week required.

Recommended texts

Remommended readings and resources are available in UTSOnline.


Refer to UTSOnline to access references 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 (, 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.