University of Technology Sydney

92567 Interpersonal Communication

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
Result type: Grade and marks

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


This subject is delivered within the context of effective interpersonal, intrapersonal, intraprofessional and therapeutic communication being increasingly recognised as core competencies for anyone practising in the healthcare arena. Good communication is increasingly recognised as fundamental to quality and safe health care and to become a skilled and safe communicator requires active engagement with the theories and processes of interpersonal communication. This subject introduces students to those theories and processes while integrating effective skills which are fostered by active engagement in collaborative learning spaces with practise and critical reflection.

Students gain an appreciation of the centrality of interpersonal communication in developing professional relationships including professionalism, self-presentation, teamwork and building supportive workplaces and conflict management.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Identify the processes of effective and ineffective interpersonal communication and its impact on self, colleagues and health care consumers.
B. Locate and present an example of how contemporary media portrays health issues.
C. Provide examples of alternate strategies to improve the effectiveness of interpersonal communication.
D. Describe the link between communication and quality and safety in health care.
E. Critique using evidence based literature the experiences consumers have on the health care system within diverse settings.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Use an assets-based approach to engender effective communication, collaboration and leadership (3.0)
  • Are ethical and responsible professionals who value the diversity of people and communities (4.0)
  • Translate research and evaluation into social and professional practice through critical thinking and knowledge integration (5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

Strategies utilised will emphasise active and applied approaches to develop a student’s ability to communicate positively with consumers and their support systems, and professional colleagues. Students will actively learn via role plays, classroom exercises and worksheets, discussion of case studies, individually as well as in groups. Students will use collaborative learning spaces and will utilise UTSOnline to facilitate learning.

Other strategies to facilitate teaching and learning will include; pre class learning via on-line resources and face-to-face learning.These activities will be followed up with in class discussions, case studies and in-class experiential activities utilising self-awareness, self-concept, team building and conflict management exercises.

Content (topics)

  • Self-concept, self-efficacy, self-awareness and reflection (Johns Model 1993 for structured reflection)
  • Communication skills to facilitate effective communication professionally and therapeutically
  • Barriers to effective communication
  • Group dynamics – assertiveness, leadership, team building, conflict
  • Ethical and supportive communication
  • The relationship between communication and patient safety


Assessment task 1: A mini-class presentation


The objective of this assessment is to gain experience presenting information to an audience on a health related topic. In additon it will encourage students to begin thinking about how issues relating to consumers of the health care system are presented in the popular media. Students will locate an article or story from the popular media, gain some experience in presenting to peers in a supportive and non-threatening environment and will enable early, low-stakes feedback.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):


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


Weight: 10%

2-3 minute presentation


Evidence of ability to locate a relevant and contemporary example of how the contemporary media portray health issues and presentation is organised with a clear summary, succinctly with approriate volume, eye contact, body language and speed.

Assessment task 2: Group Interview Critique


This assessment allows students to begin the process of analysing and evaluating communication and the effect this may have on the quality and safety of experiences as health care consumers. The assessment is conducted and completed as a group exercise allowing students to collaborate and interact with their peers. The assessment will provide a foundation for students to build on for the next assessment in the subject.


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, 4.0 and 5.0

Weight: 30%

750 words

Assessment task 3: Individual critique of an interview


This assessment will allow students to examine more thoroughly the literature on interpersonal communication and apply the literature to an analysis of an interview. It will also allow students to critique an experience a consumer has had with the health care system in a particular area of interest.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, D and E

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

3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Weight: 60%

1500 words


Archee, R., Gurney, M. & Mohan, T. 2013, Communicating as Professionals, Cengage, South Melbourne.

Glass, N. 2013, Interpersonal Relating, Palgrave McMillan,South Yarra.

Gluyas, H. & Morrison, P. 2013, Patient Safety, Palgrave McMillan, Hampshire, UK.

Grellier, J. & Goerke, V. 2014, Communication Toolkit ,3rd edn, Cengage, South Melbourne.

Higgs, J. Ajjawai, R., McAllister, L., Trede, F. & Loftus, S. (eds) 2008, Communicating in the Health Sciences, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

Iedema, R., Piper , D. & Manidis, M. (eds) 2015, Communicating Quality and Safety in Health Care, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne.

Stein-Parbury, J. 2014, Patient and Person, 5th edn, Churchill Livingstone, 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.