University of Technology Sydney

92463 Communication and Diversity

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 develops students' written, oral and interpersonal communication skills in the context of empathetically nursing a diverse Australian population. There is a distinct focus on learning to recognise and understand other people's perspectives. Core literacies related to practice readiness including interpersonal skills, intrapersonal knowledge, and behavioural management skills are introduced. Students are guided to reflect on their own identity and values and how these affect the way they interact with others. Different world views and representations of diverse groups are explored as well as concepts of power, privilege and personal bias. Learning occurs in a non-confrontational, respectful, collaborative and collegial space.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Discuss the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (RN Standards for Practice 1 & 2).
B. Evaluate how worldview differences can generate self-perceptions, personal bias and stereotypes about others, which can lead to discrimination, marginalisation and health inequalities in nursing practice (RN Standards for Practice 1).
C. Appraise the ways in which self-awareness can be increased for personal and professional growth and as a starting point for better understanding others and developing reflective, empathetic nursing practice (RN Standards for Practice 1).
D. Recognise the centrality of effective interpersonal communication in developing empathetic relationships with people and the positive association between effective interpersonal communication and clinical quality, cultural and patient safety (RN Standards for Practice 2).
E. Demonstrate effective communication orally and in writing, in a way that is sensitive to how people are represented and how their perspectives are reflected (RN Standards for Practice 2).

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)
  • 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 assist you to develop the means and confidence to communicate with, and effectively nurse people from diverse groups.

Storied Learning
This subject takes a narrative approach. Students will watch online audio-visuals accessed through UTSOnline depicting people and their families discussing clinical, community and social situations. They will apply methods for engaging in storytelling narratives with community members. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of and reflection on issues or situations. Audio-visuals may be played in tutorials or students may be required to view them prior to class.

Lectures in this subject will be online accessed via UTSOnline. Lectures will be in the form of podcasts, TED talks and other readily available resources to expose students to alternative perspectives.

Online Learning Activities
Prior to attending zoom workshops, students access online learning resources including lectures, audio-visuals, and prescribed readings. Online resources enable students to clarify complex concepts and terminology, and reflect on sensitive or confronting topics. Undertaking these activities prior to the tutorials will ensure collaborative, informed and vibrant discussion of topics in class.

Experiential Activities
This subject has been designed to be thought provoking and to facilitate students developing empathy for others. In and out of class time, students will engage in experiential activities that will allow them to gain understanding of themselves and other people's perspectives. These will then be shared in workshop groups for heightened empathic communication awareness and abilities.

The development of students' emotional intelligence is a core objective of this subject. Online mindfulness sessions have been provided that are designed to assist students to reflect on and engage with their own beliefs and values regarding the tutorial topics.

Academic Writing
Demonstrating information literacy and technology skills, students search and synthesise the professional literature to answer an essay question. Students comply with academic writing practices and use information ethically, legally and respectfully.

Content (topics)

Content will include: diversity in Australia including but not limited to: age, ethnicity, culture, race, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, religious and/or spiritual beliefs, socioeconomic and educational background, income, marital status, and parenteral status; appreciating the local Indigenous community and understanding their health care needs; appreciating that diversity encompasses both ways of knowing and being and learning to accept alternative worldviews; cultural safety; cultural differences in communication styles; mindfulness regarding our own qualities and experiences, beliefs and values, and considering how they influence the way we approach, interact and communicate with others; fostering respect, acceptance, tolerance and empathy for qualities and experiences and communication styles that are different from our own; how the media influences our views of diverse groups; concepts of institutional, personal and cultural power; understandings of health and illness; and, health literacy. Oral and written communication will be assessed. Interpersonal skills and skills that facilitate a partnership orientation such as listening, empathetic understanding, responding appropriately and emotional intelligence will be explored and developed.


Assessment task 1: Self Constructs


In order to communicate therapeutically with, and understand others, we must first understand ourselves and sources that influence how we perceive other people. This assessment task is designed to faciltate self-reflection and foster an in-depth understanding of the way we construct ourselves in different contexts.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C and E

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

1.0 and 3.0

Type: Reflection
Weight: 20%

500 words (+/- 10% not including references)

Assessment task 2: Perception Analysis


Cultural respect is essential for effective health service delivery to people of all backgrounds, but is especially significant in the context of the unacceptably poor health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This assignment has been designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore their own perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the consequences of personal bias for culturally safe nursing practice.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and E

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

3.0 and 6.0

Type: Essay
Weight: 45%

1200 words (+/- 10% not including references)

Assessment task 3: Communication for Empathic Understanding


This assessment item builds on all previous assessable activities in this subject. This is an opportunity for students to develop and demonstrate empathic understanding of another person. This activity will contribute to their professional development as future registered nurses, where they will be required to provide empathetic nursing care for people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds.The in-class verbal presentation provides students with an opportunity to communicate their journey of developing empathic understanding with their peers.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C, D and E

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

2.0 and 3.0

Type: Presentation
Weight: 35%

The presentation will be a max. of 5 minutes and students must vidoetape the presentation and submit it for marking.

Required texts

Required readings will be available on UTSOnline or through the library.

Recommended texts

Best, O. & Fredericks, B. 2014, Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing & midwifery care, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Vic.

Grellier, J. & Goerke, V. 2014, Communications toolkit, 3rd edn, Cengage Learning Australia,South Melbourne, Vic.

Stein-Parbury, J. 2014, Patient & Person: Interpersonal skills in nursing, 5th edn, Elsevier, Chatswood NSW (limited access to e-Book through the library)


Asmar, C 2011, Indigenous teaching and learning at Australian universities: Developing research-based exemplars for good practice, Teaching Fellow final report, Strawberry Hills, NSW.

Asmar, C 2014, Indigenous teaching at Australian universities: Research-based approaches to teaching Indigenous students and Indigenous curriculum, Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, NSW.

Boud, D 1995, Enhancing learning through self-assessment, Routledge, Abingdon.

Chiang, V, Leung, S, Chui, C, Leung, A & Mak, Y 2013, 'Building life-long learning capacity in undergraduate nursing freshmen within an integrative and small group learning context', Nurse Education Today, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 1184-91.

Critz, C & Knight, D 2013, 'Using the flipped classroom in graduate nursing education', Nurse Educator, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 210-3.

EDUCAUSE 2012, 7 things you should know about flipped classrooms, Educause Learning Initiative, viewed 24th August, 2012, <>.

MacDonald, K & Smith, C 2013, 'The flipped classroom for professional development: Part 1 benefits and strategies', The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, vol. 44, no. 10, pp. 437-8.

McMillan, SS, Kelly, F, Sav, A, Kendall, E, King, MA, Whitty, JA & Wheeler, JA 2014, 'Using the nominal group technique: how to analyse across multiple groups', Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 92-108, DOI 10.?1007/?s10742-014-0121-1, <>.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia 2006, National competency standards for the registered nurse, viewed 12th October, 2014, <>.

Raghallaigh, M & Cunniffe, R 2013, 'Creating a safe climate for active learning and student engagement: An example from an introductory social work model', Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 93-105.

Roehl, A, Reddy, S & Shannon, G 2013, 'The flipped classroom: An opportunity to engage millenial students through active learning', Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, vol. 105, no. 2, p. 44.

Smith, C & MacDonald, K 2013, 'The flipped classroom for professional development: Part II making podcasts and videos', The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, vol. 44, no. 11, pp. 486-7.

Smith, DG 2014, Diversity and inclusion in higher education: Emerging perspectives on institutional transformation, Routledge, Abindon, Oxfordshire; New York.

Stein-Parbury, J 2014, Patient & Person: Interpersonal skills in nursing, 5th edn, Elsevier, Chatswood, NSW.

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 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.