The aim of this unit is to present major concepts and principles of pathophysiology, illustrating their relationship to a range of common/important acute and chronic illnesses. This unit (RBM2101) supports the topics in concurrent nursing units by: providing a scientific basis for understanding disease processes such as cellular injury, inflammation, infection, and shock; by elucidating the underlying mechanisms which result in clinical manifestations; and by presenting the rationale for therapeutic interventions. In particular, students will be introduced to pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacological interventions related to the pathophysiology studied. Microbiology will also be discussed with reference to the growth and physiology of micro-organisms, their pathogenic potential, infection control and antibiotic treatment. In this unit, major disorders of the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and nervous systems will be examined, as well as fluid and electrolyte imbalances, acid/base imbalances and shock. The pathophysiological principles underlying disorders of major body systems and subsystems will also be discussed.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HBM1202 - Anatomy and Physiology 2 (applicable for HBMA, HBNB students ONLY)

HNB1204 - Foundations of Nursing and Midwifery 2 (applicable for HBMA students ONLY)

HNB1205 - Foundations in Nursing 2 (applicable for HBNB students ONLY)

HNB1206 - Professional Practice 1 (applicable for HBNB students ONLY)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the fundamentals of microbiology and the importance of infection control and its relevance in the work of health professionals;  
  2. Describe the major pathophysiological concepts, processes, progression, and complications of cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, nervous, acid base and fluid and electrolyte diseases/conditions;  
  3. Identify the environmental influences, which contribute to various pathophysiological processes, and relate these to disease prevention as well as pathogenesis;  
  4. Discuss the principles of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics as they apply to specific drugs or drug classifications;  
  5. Discuss medication administration and nursing management of the client receiving medications including legal and ethical issues.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Two (2) Tests (30 minutes each) 20%
Case Study Pharmacology Case study 30%
Creative Works Written Assessment Case study x 2 50%
Student must attain a score of 50% for the Pharmacology Case study (Hurdle) which tests critical knowledge essential for safe practice, submit all assessment items (to align to ANMAC accreditation requirements of the course) and achieve an aggregate score of 50% overall for the unit.

Required reading

Fundamentals of applied pathophysiology: An essential guide for nursing and healthcare students 3rd ed.
Peate, I. (2017).
Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons

McKenna's Pharmacology for Nursing and Health Professionals 2nd ed.
McKenna, L. & Lim, A.G (2014)
Sydney, NSW: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

RECOMMENDED TEXT: McCance, K.L., & Huether, S.E (2014) Pathophysiology: The Biologic Basis for Disease in Adults and Children, 7th ed. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.