The unit explores contemporary nursing care of patients with acute and chronic disorders across the lifespan using a person-centred approach. The unit will examine the related underlying pathophysiological concepts, processes, progression and complications to enhance understanding of acute exacerbation, chronic management and the associated nursing care of selected conditions. Students will explore pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics for the pharmacotherapeutics and quality use of medicines in the selected disorders. Students will further develop nursing skills linked to care of patients with selected disorders and consolidate contemporary practice by applying therapeutic and team communication using case-based scenarios in nursing simulation. Students will utilise critical thinking and clinical reasoning, including legal and ethical considerations to understand and demonstrate appropriate nursing care interventions using evidence underpinning best practice. Through a cultural competency framework students will evaluate their nursing practice when caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, other cultures and people of diversity whilst exploring health context impacts.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HNB2001 - Contemporary Nursing A

HNB2002 - Contemporary Nursing and Mental Health A

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate critical thinking and clinical reasoning in relation to evidence-based nursing practice in the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of the treatment and management of acute and chronic conditions across the lifespan in primary, secondary and tertiary settings building on previous learning;  
  2. Demonstrate understanding related to the nursing standards, nursing code of conduct, code of ethics and legal considerations with the inclusion of digital health encompassing the care of the patient with acute and chronic conditions.  
  3. Evaluate pathophysiological concepts, processes, progression and complications associated with acute and chronic conditions, of the neurological, musculoskeletal, reproductive and gastro-intestinal systems linking pharmacotherapeutics and quality use of medicines to inform patient care;  
  4. Advocate the importance of cultural awareness within nursing practice, the engagement of the patient in decision making and the role of the interprofessional healthcare team;  
  5. Exhibit mastery of drug calculation and principles of safe medication administration within scope of practice; and  
  6. Exemplify professionalism through team collaboration, documentation, clinical handover and therapeutic communication in the safe delivery of person-centred care within their current scope of practice.  


The assessment tasks link the learning outcomes and graduate capabilities. In the written assessment students will formulate a plan of care attributed to a patient scenario using the clinical reasoning cycle; this will allow the students to demonstrate their understanding of associated pathophysiology, pharmacology, development of patient goals, interventions and evaluation of care. The OSCA assessment allows students to work in pairs to demonstrate their communication skills (intraprofessional and patient), psychomotor skills and reflective practice related to safe patient care. Students will be assessed using a checklist highlighting critical errors associated with nursing standards. Reflection-in-action provides the opportunity for students to actively evaluate their actions and practices during their OSCA. Identifying and verbalising any incorrect practices will help students to redeem their marks that can be potentially lost due to incorrect action. Students will have the opportunity to reflect 'in-action' at the time of the assessment. Students that do not identify areas of poor practice or un-safe patient care during reflection will not receive marks towards this assessment. The case study is written activity in which students will be presented with a patient scenario and will be required to complete short answer questions testing knowledge acquisition attributed to the learning outcomes in the unit. The medication calculation task is a hurdle requirement where students must achieve 100%.
Assessment type Description Grade
Test Medication Calculation Test (hurdle) 0%
Assignment Written Assignment (Case study: Clinical Reasoning Cycle: 1500 words) 35%
Other OSCA Practical Skill and Reflection 15%
Case Study Case study (Patient Scenario and Questions) 50%
To gain an overall pass in this unit, students must attend 85% of all practical laboratories and clinical simulations for essential skill development as per ANMAC expectations. Any absences must be supported with documentation to the unit convenor. Medication Calculation Test: Students will be eligible for a maximum of two (2) attempts of the medication calculation assessment. A third attempt may be granted with consideration to student progress within the unit and the cumulative mark awarded through assessment submissions. Attendance requirements for nursing labs and simulations and the medication calculation hurdle are integral to safe nursing practice and prepare students for Professional Experience Placement (PEP).

Required reading

Smeltzer & Bare's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing 4th ed.
Farrell, M. (2017)
Wolters Kluwer.and Bear Textbook of nursing

McKenna's Drug Handbook for Nursing and Midwifery Australia and New Zealand
McKenna, L. & Mirkov, S (2019)
Wolters Kluwer

Clinical Psychomotor Skills: Assessment tools for nurses 7th ed.
Tollefson, J. and Hillman, E. (2019)

Additional required readings will be available on VU Collaborate.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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