University of Technology Sydney

92902 Care of the Acutely Ill Child

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 2022 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 advances students' theoretical knowledge for specialist practice in the acute paediatric setting. It considers issues related to growth and development, child safety, complex health breakdown states, evidence-based use of technology and how this supports therapeutic care as well as strategies to support families affected by acute paediatric illness. Throughout this subject there is a focus on using evidence to enable therapeutic care and the best health outcomes in the acute paediatric setting.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Understand and apply the principles of growth and development into the nursing care of infants, children and adolescents with complex health breakdown and/or issues related to child safety
B. Critically examine relevant pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnoses and therapies in complex health breakdown states in infants, children and adolescents
C. Evaluate the evidence based application of technology in the therapeutic management of infants, children and adolescents
D. Discuss how evidence-based practice enables contemporary paediatric practice to deliver optimal health outcomes for sick infants, children and adolescents and their families
E. Integrate supportive strategies to assist families whose infants, children and adolescents are acutely physically and/or mentally unwell

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Are reflective critical thinkers who contribute to practice, policy, and research to enhance health care and health outcomes (1.0)
  • Are effective, collaborative and responsive leaders (2.0)
  • Are socially, culturally and ethically accountable and consider health care in a global context (3.0)
  • Communicate appropriately and consistently in diverse situations (4.0)
  • Embody the professional qualities appropriate to the scope of their role (5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is designed to help students understand the complexities associated with acute illness in babies, children and adolescents and the impact on the family. Children of all ages do not exist in isolation and families are an integral component in the lives of children, therefore families and a family-centred approach are integrated into all aspects of this subject. This subject is undertaken in a blended approach with students attending three days during the semester accompanied by integrated learning in the online environment. This approach to teaching and learning is responsive to the needs of postgraduate students who need to balance study with their professional and personal commitments.

Lectures and online learning materials
This subject benefits from both the real time delivery of content and access to resources via UTSOnline, including podcasts, videos and learning modules. Face-to-face lectures enable students to engage with experts within the field of contemporary acute care paediatric nursing, and the guest lecturers will help students put theory into practice by sharing their professional clinical journey. The guest lecturers will prompt research inspired group discussion of contemporary pediatric practice and extend students’ reflection on practice to include national and international perspectives. Class sessions help students to quickly clarify complex descriptions and terminology, and engage with sensitive or confronting topics such as non-accidental injury and child abuse.

Case based scenarios and collaboration
Ethical and legal cases are used to help students explore the acute care management of babies, children and adolescents. Cases depict clinical situations and will explore issues related to the family and society, and students will collaborate and use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgements and develop solutions. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of and reflection on issues or situations. Self, peer and teacher feedback is provided to develop students' judgement.

Flexibility with assessment choices
Students create their own plans for learning, developed via feedback and self-reflection thus helping students recognise the connections between their prior knowledge, experiences and new information. Feedback will be provided on assessments to ensure students can identify areas for development and areas of sufficient expertise. Students will be encouraged to publish their written assessment.

Students are encouraged to use contemporary educational technology and will construct a personal blog. Students will receive feedback from their peers and incorporate this feedback prior to submission for assessment.

Collaboration on assessment tasks
Students engage in collaborative group activities culminating in a group presentation. Students will be giving feedback to, and receiving feedback from their peers.

Simulation, feedback and debrief
Use of low and high fidelity simulation will be used to immerse and engage students into common acute care paediatric scenarios as identified in the NSW Health Clinical Practice Guidelines. Interactive critical-thinking based case studies will be used to provide opportunities for students to practice their existing and newly acquired skills, and to identify areas for improvement. This format supports and encourages communication skills, collaborative learning, critical analysis and judgement, formulation and implementation of interventions and evaluation. Debriefing will be carried out as part of the simulation process to enable reflective learning and reflective practice, and provides opportunities for regular and timely feedback.

Feedback will be provided to students in the following ways; Choosing appropriate topics for the evidence review and consideration of the available journals to publish his/her work. Teacher and peer feedback will provided in the blog assessment and the group presentation assessment.

Pre-session learning
Students access online learning resources such as podcasts, videos and literature prior to attending face-to face sessions to facilitate discussion in class resulting in shared learning, experiences and reflections.

The specific sessions will be detailed in the session grid and all resources will be located on UTSOnline.

Content (topics)

This subject covers a range of topics and issues relevant for paediatric nurses to meet the developmental, physiological and behavioural needs of acutely ill infants / children / adolescents and their families in the health care system. This includes breakdown of health across body systems, mental health issues, aetiology and management of acute illness and the effects of health breakdown on parents and families.


Assessment task 1: Evidence Review


This assessment contributes to student learning by assisting students to develop a deeper understanding of some of the underpinning theoretical constructs related to contemporary paediatric nursing practice, and to consider important aspects of current and emerging trends in paediatric nursing care and technology.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and E

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Weight: 40%

2000 - 2500 words


No marks are awarded for an introduction and conclusion, however they are an expected part of a formal essay. Marks will be deducted if they are absent.

Assessment task 2: Reflective blog and input to fellow students' blogs


This assessment contributes to student learning by assisting students to develop their creativity and focuses on their ability to use the available technology to create a blog. This blog will increase their capacity for critical judgement, self reflection and peer feedback.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and E

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

1.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Weight: 40%

Total Limit: 2000—2500 words (this is a guide only), Reflection: 500-1000 words

Assessment task 3: Working together and sharing knowledge


This assignment contributes to student learning by assisting the student to work together and develop their capacity to present information effectively.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and E

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0

Weight: 20%

Students and groups will receive feedback on the content of their presentation and their presentation skills in accordance with the following criteria. The following should guide groups when preparing their group presentation:

  • Overview of the chosen topic
  • Evidence of research into the chosen topic
  • Evidence of analysis and critique and extension of knowledge on chosen topic
  • Presentation skills - management of creative interesting and informative presentation keeping the class engaged
  • Issues related to the child within the family
  • The role of the paediatric nurse or issues related to paediatric nursing
  • Evidence of individual contribution to the group project

Minimum requirements

All assessment tasks must be completed and submitted to meet the requirements of this subject.

Required texts

There is no specific textbook recommended for this subject, however please refer to textbooks that have been written in the last five years. Required and recommended readings are available on UTSOnline under subject documents and readings and resources.


Students are encouraged to browse websites, and many resources are available online, including hotlinks through Mosby and library services, allowing access to journals through online databases.

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, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
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.