University of Technology Sydney

93203 Healthcare 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 2021 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 is delivered within the context of recognising the centrality of interpersonal processes to the practice of nursing. Students are facilitated to broaden their understanding of nursing as a relationship – based profession, providing patient-centred care to a culturally diverse Australian population and enhanced by the thoughtful and therapeutic application of ‘self’.

Good communication is increasingly recognised as fundamental to quality and safe health care and is a core competency for nursing practice. To become a skilled and safe communicator requires active engagement with the theories and processes of intrapersonal knowledge and interpersonal communication. This subject introduces students to evidence-based processes to develop effective relationship skills and therapeutic agency, by active engagement in collaborative learning spaces with practise and critical reflection.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. 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, empathic, compassionate and culturally safe nursing practice
B. Utilise an evidence-based approach to identify the processes and skills of effective interpersonal therapeutic communication and relationship building, as well as barriers to effective nurse/patient communication
C. Recognise the centrality of effective interpersonal communication in developing empathic relationships with individuals and the link between communication and quality and safety in healthcare
D. Reflect on the importance of communication on professional relationships including professionalism, self-presentation, interprofessional teamwork and conflict management

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • The ability to plan and provide care that is respectful of each individuals’ needs, values and life experiences (1.0)
  • The embodiment of a professional disposition committed to ethical, equitable and legal nursing practice (2.0)
  • The ability to communicate and collaborate safely, compassionately and respectfully. (3.0)
  • The ability to provide patient care premised on the best available evidence (4.0)
  • The intellectual capacity to use theoretical knowledge to address complex and non-routine clinical issues (6.0)
  • The knowledge and skills required for safe and effective patient care (7.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

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.

In this subject, you will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to encourage you to engage with the nursing care of adults admitted to tertiary-care facilities with acute episodic medical-surgical conditions.

Lectures and online learning materials
This subject benefits from both the real time delivery of content and access to online resources including podcasts, videos and learning modules. Students are provided with the resources to complete approximately 60-90 minutes of preparatory work to enable engagement during face-to-face/online tutorials. Face-to-face and online lecture material enable students to quickly clarify complex descriptions and terminology, and engage with nursing leaders who are experts in their field.

Students will be supported and guided by a tutor and also work in pairs and groups to unpack the tutorial content using case studies and real life examples. In class content is structured to contribute to the required assessment tasks.

Students will be provided feedback from their tutor and peers with the opportunity to collaborate and develop interpersonal, communication and reflective skills. Students' learned skills will be assessed through their interactive and written assessments.

Academic Writing
Demonstrating information literacy and technology skills, students search and synthesise the professional literature to support their discussion in online and written academic assessments. Students to comply with academic writing and academic integrity requirements to ensure their information is presented appropriately.

Content (topics)

  • Self-concept, self-awareness in practice: defining the concepts of self-awareness, self-concept, values clarificationand emotional intelligence; the relationship of these concepts to effective practice; aligning a personal philosophy of nursing and a professional self-concept; exploration of self-awareness and reflection as essential building blocks for professional growth and clinical judgement; introduction of self-assessment tools; receiving and giving feedback; understanding the factors that contribute to well-being.
  • Introduction to therapeutic relationships; differentiating between social and professional relationships; the social and psychological factors that impact on nurse/patient relationships, cultural safety and culturally safe practice
  • Interpersonal skills that facilitate a partnership orientation such as listening, empathetic understanding, responding appropriately.
  • Interprofessional education, working in interdisciplinary teams, management of conflict; understanding and practicing assertive behaviour;
  • Communication and quality and safety, the relationship between communication and patient quality and safety, key attributes of patient -safe communication, a review of adverse incidents across NSW health, particularly those related to communication, open disclosure policy
  • Communication with vulnerable and at risk groups including children, older people, patients with a disability, refugees and patients from a non-English speaking background


Assessment task 1: Module and summary


This 12-16 hour module is designed to develop healthcare language, communication skills and terminology for people interested in an career in healthcare. It is an introduction to foundation healthcare communication skills which will scaffold the high-level skills provided in this subject.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and C

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

2.0, 3.0 and 6.0

Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Part A: The module will take around 12-16 hours to complete (3-4 hours a week for the first 4 weeks of session).
Part B: The summary and reflection will be a maximum of 200 words.

Assessment task 2: Role Play


This assessment involves demonstration of appropriate skills such as conflict resolution, active listening, reflection, feedback and empathy. As a nurse, you need to be able to confidently, safely and effectively interaction with patients, their families and other members of the healthcare team - both in private and publicly. This assessment provides an opportunity to practice these kinds of interactions in a safe, supportive and structured environment.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 6.0 and 7.0

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 30%

The role play will run for 3 - 5 minutes with up to 5 minutes of feedback provided.

Assessment task 3: Video presentation


This assessment is an oppotunity to demonstrate your ability to use high quality, safe and empathetic communication skills in a simulated healthcare interaction. The relection is designed to allow you to accurately identify and describe these skills using effective written communication techniques.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

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

1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 6.0 and 7.0

Type: Demonstration
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

The video should be 3 to 5 minutes in length and the written reflection is a maximum of 1000 words.

Required texts

Berman, A. et al (Eds). (2020). Kozier and Erb's Fundamentals of Nursing, Volumes 1-3. 5th edition. Melbourne, Australia: Pearson Australia.

Levett-Jones, T. (Ed). (2017). Clinical Reasoning: Learning to think like a Nurse. 2nd edition. Melbourne, Australia: Pearson Australia.

Recommended texts

Barraclough, B. & Levett-Jones, T. (Eds). (2019). Critical Conversations for Patient Safety: An Essential Guide for Healthcare Students. 2nd edition . Melbourne, Australia: Pearson Australia.


Details of references used in this subject will be provided on Canvas.

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 Canvas 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.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or