Course Title: Context of Mental Health Nursing

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Context of Mental Health Nursing

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr Lin Zhao

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7079

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.07.010

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

To be eligible to undertake this course you must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency as a Division One Registered Nurse.

Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. For further information go to:

Course Description

This course focuses on the development of your abilities to recognise and differentiate between the psychiatric disorders within the context of the existing criteria for classifications and diagnosis of mental illness. Comparison of different theoretical models of mental illness will ensure that you are able to take a critical approach to the conceptualisation of mental illness and treatment for the individual and significant others. Cultural beliefs and concepts of mental illness will be explored in terms of caring for consumers. You will be provided with the opportunity to explore and acquire knowledge of mental health issues confronting culturally diverse Australian society, including indigenous peoples. Further emphasis will be placed on current modes of treatment for people suffering major psychiatric disorders and disabilities. The role of pharmacology in the treatment of each specific mental disorder will be examined.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the development of the Program Learning Outcomes for GD158 Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing in the following way:


  • PLO 4: The Mental Health Nurse collaboratively plans and provides ethically based care consistent with the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and cultural needs of the individual.
  • PLO 5:  The Mental Health Nurse values the contributions of other agencies and stakeholders in the collaborative provision of holistic, evidence based care and in ensuring comprehensive service provision for people with mental health issues.
  • PLO 6:  The Mental Health Nurse actively pursues opportunities to reduce stigma and promotes social inclusion and community participation for all people with mental health issues.
  • PLO 8:  The Mental Health Nurse’s practice incorporates and reflects common law requirements, relevant statutes and the nursing profession’s code of conduct and ethics. The Mental Health Nurse integrates international, national, local and state policies and guidelines with professional Standards and competencies.

  1. Critically review historical and contemporary notions of mental health, mental illness and human responses to the experience of mental illness.
  2. Explore the emergence of the recovery model within mental health nursing practice and consider its implications for future care.
  3. Discuss the rationale for classification of mental disorders using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition)
  4. Conduct a Mental Status Examination for individuals within the context of a culturally diverse and gender sensitive population.
  5. Critically examine symptom presentation and psychopathology patterns associated with a range of mental disorders in a culturally diverse and gender sensitive population
  6. Identify the prevalence of substance abuse, dual diagnosis and co-morbidity as it relates  to mental health nursing practice
  7. Review the appropriate application of psycho-therapeutic interventions, psychopharmacological considerations and holistic management of consumers with mental illness and their families over time in the following settings (emergency; acute care; and long term care)  and critically consider the ethico-legal requirements that guide professional mental health nursing practice as articulated by the ANC and the ANZCMHN

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities you will undertake during this course include a mixture of lectures, class discussion and self-directed learning exercises including directed reading of academic literature. This literature may include journal articles, exercises based on readings, reflective exercises, clinical based activity and recovery focused care plans.

The assessment associated with this course will comprise formative and summative assessment and incorporate a variety of assessment modes. Your assessments will primarily take the form of written work requiring reflection and critical analysis. Your participation in classroom and on line activities will also form part of your summative grade.

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include lecture notes, self-directed learning packages, and targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. Course material will be delivered via Lectopia, Discussion Board interaction and Blackboard Collaborate workshops. Practice learning activities will be provided in a variety of ways, including simulated learning activities. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks:


Assessment 1:  Recovery Focussed Care Plan

 Weighting of final grade: 40%

 Related course learning outcomes: CLO1, CLO2, CLO3,CLO4


Assessment  2:  Reflective Learning Activities*

 Weighting of final grade: 10%

 Related course learning outcomes: CLO5, CLO6, CLO7

N.B. Reflective learning activities will be conducted in class or on line if enrolled in distance education mode. Students can attend for some classes or work on line.

Assessment item 3:  Critical Analytical Essay

 Weighting of final grade: 50%

Related course learning outcomes: CLO1,CLO2, CLO7