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 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 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. (RN Standards of Practice 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 3.3, 3.5)
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. (RN Standard of Practice 1.1, 2.1, 2.3, 5.1)
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. (RN Standards of Practice 1.1, 1.6, 2.7, 3.2, 4.3, 6.6)
D. Reflect on the importance of communication on professional relationships including professionalism, self-presentation, interprofessional teamwork and conflict management. (RN Standards of Practice 1.2, 2.5, 2.7, 5.5, 7.3)

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • The ability to communicate and collaborate safely, compassionately and respectfully. (3.0)
  • Demonstrates the ability to develop therapeutic relationships while maintaining professional boundaries. (3.1)
  • Communicates and educates patients in ways that are appropriate to their level of health literacy. (3.2)
  • Critically reflects on and learns from previous experiences to improve future practice. (6.3)
  • Recognises and responds to human and systems factors that have the potential to jeopardise patient safety. (7.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject, students will participate in various teaching and learning strategies designed to develop effective clinical communication skills to facilitate a person-centred care approach to nursing practice.

Learning Activities
Via the online platform Canvas, students will be exposed to various learning materials specifically developed to support students' progress. Students access online learning resources, including pre-class activities, videos, readings, clinical websites and guidelines. Students will be required to undertake the set preparatory activities before coming to the tutorials.

Students participate in five, four-hour tutorials. These tutorial sessions are interactive and introduce students to concepts and skills specific to clinical communication. Given the complexity of the subject content, simulated activities will be incorporated to provide practical learning experiences and are designed to give exposure to a range of scenarios that may be encountered in practice. Activities include using audio-visual aids and teaching staff or students as patients/families. Students are 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 tasks designed to highlight the key elements of this subject.

Academic Writing
Students are to comply with academic writing and academic integrity requirements to ensure their information is presented appropriately.

The aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills to succeed at university and in the workplace. During this subject, you will complete a milestone assessment task that will assess your English language proficiency in addition to assessing your subject-specific learning objectives.

Content (topics)

  • Self-concept, self-awareness in practice: defining the concepts of self-awareness, self-concept, values clarification and 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: Check your knowledge In-class quiz


It is imperative to equip healthcare professionals with a profound understanding of the impact of limited health literacy on health outcomes and the application of health-literate strategies. This assessment aims to familiarise students and provide feedback on their understanding of the fundamentals of limited health literacy, focusing on the development of strategies and techniques to address health literacy challenges from the perspective of healthcare professionals.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B and C

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

3.2 and 7.2

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

Students will have 40 minutes to complete 5 multiple choice questions and 5 short-answer questions.

Assessment task 2: Group Presentation: Chat GPT as the patient or nurse. An evaluation of communication interaction.


By collaboratively creating communication scenarios using ChatGPT, students will immerse themselves in the roles of the patient and the nurse, enhancing their ability to convey information and engage in therapeutic communication. The task, executed in teams of four, encourages creativity in scenario development. The role-playing segment challenges the students to bring the scenario to life with realism and rich communication, simulating genuine healthcare interactions. The critical element of the discussion session aims to foster evaluation and reflective practice. This assessment aligns with the broader objective of preparing nursing students to navigate diverse communication scenarios with competence and empathy in their future 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 and 3.1

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

Presentation and discussion 15 mins

Assessment task 3: Communication Skills Inventory + Real life examples and reflection


Effective communication skills are indispensable in nursing practice, particularly within clinical contexts. Clinical communication entails proficiently navigating the communication process, stressing the avoidance of ineffective techniques that could lead to communication problems. It is vital to utilise effective communication methods for successful communication management. Furthermore, addressing communication challenges necessitates a multidimensional approach to problem-solving. This assessment task empowers students to evaluate their communication skills, identify instances of ineffective techniques causing communication barriers, and recognise the effectiveness of specific communication methods in overcoming these challenges. It promotes self-awareness and reflective practice to enhance communication competence.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

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

3.0, 3.1, 3.2 and 6.3

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

Part A: 150-200 words Part B: 800 - 900 words.

Required texts

Levett-Jones, T. (Ed.). (2020). Critical conversations for patient safety: an essential guide for healthcare students (2nd ed.). Pearson Australia.

Recommended texts

Berman, A. et al (Eds.). (2021). Kozier and Erb’s fundamentals of nursing: concepts, processes and practice. Volumes 1-3. (5th ed.). Pearson Australia.

Levett-Jones, T. (Ed). (2023). Clinical Reasoning: Learning to think like a Nurse. (3rd ed.). Pearson Australia.


Details of references used in this subject will be provided as required.

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