University of Technology Sydney

96030 Introduction to Professional Practice

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 (GEM)
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 96027c Eye and Visual Systems AND 96028c Binocular Vision and Ocular Motility 1 AND 96029c Ocular Pathology 1
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides students with fundamental knowledge required for practice-orientated learning in the clinical setting. Students study the basic structure of the health care system and the roles of eye care health providers, including their own role as a novice practitioner within this system. Evidence-based medicine as a model for professional orthoptic practice is introduced, along with basic research and inquiry skills. Basic clinical skills and standard diagnostic tests are introduced, including observation, history taking, and testing of visual acuity, perimetry, colour vision and contrast sensitivity. Developments in these tests of visual function and how differences in the underlying test principles can influence the outcome measure, are discussed. The pharmacology of ocular medications, laws and regulations that govern their use and their role in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for common ophthalmic conditions are also studied.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

30.4. Apply knowledge of the pharmacology of ocular medications, to their role in ophthalmic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and the legal and ethical implications of their use.
30.1. Apply knowledge of underlying test principles to appropriate investigation of visual function, demonstrating beginner level orthoptic and ophthalmic clinical skills in examination and accurate recording.
30.3. Demonstrate verbal and written communication skills, especially in relation to the effective and accurate establishment and recording of an ocular and health history while, acknowledging and adapting communication to address cultural and linguistic diversity.
30.5. Reflect upon the role of the orthoptist within the health system and as part of the interdisciplinary eye care team and the importance of effective communication and consultation to this process.
30.2. Use evidence-based research skills for the justification of various approaches to investigation and management in the context of different clinical scenarios.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

The learning outcomes for this subject are as follows:

  • Demonstrate professional behaviour and expertise in the delivery of safe, competent and responsible practice for the benefit and care of patients and the wider community. (.01)
  • Reflect on knowledge, attitudes and skills acquired for the evaluation and integration of emerging evidence into practice, promoting the growth of personal and professional learning and the education of others. (.02)
  • Analyse and synthesise knowledge of health sciences concepts and theory, and apply skills of scientific research and clinical reasoning to support decision-making in orthoptic practice. (.03)
  • Engage in leadership and collaboration for the development of patient-focused clinical teams to ensure the integration of effective health care. (.04)
  • Be an advocate for their patient, demonstrating sound, ethical, compassionate and respectful patient-focused care while acknowledging responsibility for personal health and wellbeing. (.05)
  • Effectively and accurately communicate to patients, their families, carers and members of the healthcare team and contributing to the wider role of health education and its promotion, acknowledging and adapting communication to address cultural and linguistic diversity. (.06)
  • Demonstrate respect and value for diverse ways of knowing, being and doing, in particular recognising the diversity of Indigenous Australians while critically reflecting upon the impact of ongoing colonisation and its pervasive discourse on their health and wellbeing, and integrating this knowledge into practice. (.08)
  • Represent the role of the orthoptist in multidisciplinary environments and through self-awareness and acknowledgement of the contribution of other health practitioners, support an interdisciplinary approach to attain the best outcomes for patients. (.09)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

In addition, this subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Professional Capacity
  • Cultural Competence

Teaching and learning strategies

Preparation for learning: Students will be provided with the details of preparation activities each week through the subject’s Canvas site. Activities are designed to help students prepare for workshops, clinical practical’s and to help with overall understanding of the lecture material, students are encouraged to read designated chapters from appropriate text books, review journal articles and case study material or watch informative videos.

Active Lectures: Lectures provide an introduction to topic content each week and guest lecturers are invited to share their professional expertise on particular topic areas at relevant times throughout the session. Lectures are active and require students to engage and participate in analysis of case presentations and class discussion and other collaborative learning methods

Case based learning: Case-based learning is a form of problem-based learning (PBL) and a key learning strategy used in workshops. Workshop activities are intended to promote active engagement of students and provide an authentic case and practice-based learning experience though collaborative analysis and topic discussion. Through this students develop skill in clinical reasoning and practice the application of theoretical knowledge gained in lectures and practical classes to differentially diagnose and develop appropriate plans for the investigation and management of patients with a variety of ocular conditions.

Collaborative Learning: As health professionals, teamwork is an essential skill to ensure patients are managed appropriately within interdisciplinary teams of health professionals. Teamwork skills are developed through collaboration with peers in active lectures and workshops, conducted in collaborative POD classrooms, as well as, when performing clinical skills in practical classes and through group assessment.

Reflective Learning: Students are encouraged to critically reflect on their learning throughout the subject to identify areas where they may improve their performance and to assist in the development of lifelong learning skills. Specific activities where reflective learning is encouraged are; self-evaluation of clinical skill performance in practical classes against OSCE marking criteria and skill achievement checklists and through post lecture/workshop review of learning questions on Canvas.

Practice-orientated learning: Clinical practical classes are conducted in small groups (max. 12 students) each week for this subject. In these small groups, structured learning is focused towards developing competency of clinical skills in the operational use of diagnostic equipment needed in the assessment, diagnosis and management of ocular conditions. Students are closely supervised and provided instruction and feedback as they participate in hands-on practice of skills including the use of specialised ophthalmic technology based equipment.

Self-directed Practice: Clinical practical classes provide students with supervised practice of clinical skills, however, to attain a sufficient level of competency in clinical skills, self-directed practice outside of class time is required. As a general guide, students are expected to spend approximately 1 hour of self-directed practice in the orthoptic dedicated teaching clinics per subject. This is important preparation for clinical placement and your OSCE exams

Ongoing Feedback: In-class verbal feedback is an important teaching and learning strategy employed throughout the subject. Students are provided with immediate feedback relating to the performance of clinical skills in clinical practical classes and relating to clinical reasoning and understanding of key concepts by staff facilitating workshops. Opportunities for verbal formative feedback on assignments are given prior to final submission and detailed summative feedback following final submission. Mock OSCE exams are held to provide students with formative feedback on clinical skills prior to the OSCE exams.

Content (topics)

Introduction to Professional Practice prepares students for participating in clinical placement by teaching fundamental orthoptic and ophthalmic investigative techniques and providing an understanding of the orthoptic profession, the role of orthoptists and key practitioner skills of evidence-based practice and communication. This subject is foundational for clinical learning in subsequent semesters in 96034 Professional Practice 1, 96038 Professional Practice 2, 96075 Professional Practice 3 and teaches basic clinical skills that are necessary for all subjects completed in the course.

Topics covered in this subject include; being an evidenced-based practitioner, key clinical skills in the area of professional practice (observation, history taking, visual acuity, pupil assessment), Functional vision (visual fields, colour vision and contrast sensitivity), medical terminology, ocular pharmacology, the Orthoptic profession, medico-legal issues and health care systems.


Assessment task 1: Visual Acuity Assignment


This assignment is designed to improve your understanding and performance of the fundamental and ‘gold standard’ clinical test in our profession - measuring visual acuity (VA). By performing this examination on family and friends it furthers the students’ knowledge on how to perform the test, and a reflection report allows the student to refine this skill.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

30.1, 30.2, 30.3 and 30.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01, .02, .03, .04, .05, .06, .08 and .09

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

2000 words


See criteria provided in class and on Canvas.

Assessment task 2: Interprofessional Quiz


Quality, person-centred healthcare requires professional interdisciplinary collaboration between a variety of health disciplines. Effective interdisciplinary collaboration and professionalism involves knowledge of different types of teams and ways of working in teams, discipline roles and responsibilities, ethical principles and team-based communication methods. Students will demonstrate their interdisciplinary knowledge in these areas of professionalism through a case-based quiz.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

30.2 and 30.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01, .03, .04, .05, .06, .08 and .09

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

approximately 40 minutes


Marks awarded for individual questions will be stated in the quiz.

Assessment task 3: OSCE (must-pass component)


An OSCE is an assessment format that enables students to demonstrate components of understanding, clinical and equipment skill, clinical reasoning and communication that are not readily assessed in a written format. These exams will allow the student to demonstrate knowledge they have gained across the subject through lectures, clinical practicals and through self-directed practice.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

30.1, 30.2, 30.3 and 30.4

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01, .02, .03, .05 and .06

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

30 minutes approximately


This exam aims to assess the student in a structure that best assesses their competency for participation in a future clinical working environment, such as clinical placements. As such, the primary level of competency must relate to the patient’s safety for all examinable procedures. Students must also demonstrate that they are able to effectively complete the set tasks within the given timeframe. At this stage of the course, emphasis will be given to good levels of patient instruction and communication, demonstration that tests are conducted in a safe and effective manner so that conclusions can be drawn from findings and that results are accurately recorded. Prior to the exam students will be given the criteria for individual examinable skills.

Assessment task 4: Online Written Examination


The online written exam will aid determination of whether you have met the learning objectives of this subject and will give a summative assessment of your level of knowledge and understanding of the content.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

30.1, 30.2, 30.4 and 30.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01, .02, .03, .05, .06 and .09

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

2 hours including reading time


Marks awarded for individual questions will be stated in the exam.

Minimum requirements

Students are required to attend 90% of scheduled lectures. It is expected that students will attend 100% of scheduled clinical practicals.

Note: there is a must-pass assessment in this Subject. Please check assessment descriptions for details.

Required texts

Coursework Assessments Policy

Coursework Assessments Procedures

Graduate School of Health Policy, Guidelines and Procedures (login required)

Recommended texts

Students will be required to access journals through the UTS library and reference appropriate journal articles. Specific references may be indicated if required via Canvas throughout the semester by the coordinator or lecturers. In addition, the following texts may be of use:

Heijl A & Patella VM (2002) Essential Perimetry: The Field Analyzer Primer 3rd Ed. Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc. Germany

Rowe, FJ (2006) Visual Fields via the Visual Pathway Blackwell Publishing Ltd. India

Stein H, Stein RM Freeman MI & Stein R. (2022) A text for Allied and Associated Ophthalmic Personnel 11th Ed. Elsevier. Amsterdam