Course Title: Altered States of Health

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Altered States of Health

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2018


Hamilton Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010


Sale Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009

Course Coordinator: Sue Stewart

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6650

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.07.006

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities



Course Description

This course builds on your nursing knowledge and skills to introduce the concept of the person with an altered state of health, in particular with reference to the Australian National Health Priority Areas. You will utilise the variety of assessment modes available to assist in your nursing care planning and learn the skills associated with dealing with a person in an altered state of health. You will conceptualise the risks associated with the health care environment and identify the care required for a patient experiencing episodic alterations to health.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for the Bachelor of Nursing Program BP032 in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Australia, Registered Nurse Standards for Practice:

PLO 1: Thinks critically and analyses nursing practice

PLO 2: Engages in therapeutic and professional relationships

PLO 3: Maintains the capability for practice

PLO 4: Comprehensively conducts assessments

PLO 5: Develops a plan for nursing practice

PLO 6: Provides safe, appropriate and responsive quality nursing practice

PLO 7: Evaluates outcomes to inform nursing practice

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2016) Registered nurse standards for practice. Melbourne, Australia.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the concept of an altered state of health as it applies to the nursing practice setting
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and skills of applied health assessment and physical examination in clinical practice
  3. Introduce the concepts of basic diagnostics into the assessment criteria for patient care.
  4. Consider the management and nursing requirements for patients experiencing episodic alterations to health
  5. Review the role of risk assessment in the planning and management of the patient care episode
  6. Identify the role of hospitalisation in management and nursing care of patients with altered health states and its impact on families.
  7. Elaborate the features of comprehensive, safe, professional and ethical nursing care to achieve identified individual / group outcomes.

Overview of Learning Activities

This course will use a range of learning activities including lectures, discussions and self-directed learning. Throughout the course you will be able to work both independently and in groups to aid development of your theoretical knowledge and its application to clinical practice. Course learning outcomes are also assessed in the simulated clinical laboratory environment using skill demonstration, viva voce and hurdle assessment.

Learning activities may include modalities such as lectures, podcasts and Lectopia/Echo 360, and Blackboard discussion board and simulated practice laboratories.

Lectures: Lectures and lecture notes are the principal mode of content delivery and will present you with the key concepts and information relevant to the understanding of the requirements for clinical nursing practice for the person with an altered state of health. You will be expected to participate in classroom discussions and to contribute to the learning experiences of your student colleagues.

Self-Directed Learning: Self-directed learning activities associated with this course are designed to enable you to better develop independent learning skills to support your commitment to lifelong learning as a nursing professional and a university graduate. The self-directed learning activities will support your knowledge of the material covered in the formal learning program and enhance the consolidation and application of that knowledge.

Assessment of the content of this course will use a variety of appropriate methods to measure knowledge and skill acquisition. There are four assessment items for this course – two of which are hurdle requirements. Assessment completed in the first half of the semester will provide feedback on your progress. Ongoing feedback on your knowledge and application will be provided from peers and academic staff. Feedback to students is provided in a variety of ways including verbal and group feedback. Individual feedback is not always provided in a written format.


Teacher Guided Hours: 48 per semester which will consist of face to face lectures, laboratories and online materials

Learner Directed Hours: 72 per semester self-directed study and time used to prepare for assessment tasks. It is expected that students practice the clinical skills learned in this semester. 

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. Where possible all selected material will be digitally available to you. Lecture material may be delivered using a variety of flexible learning modes such as Lectopia, Discussion Board or workshops. These modes will be utilised at the discretion of your lecturer. RMIT will provide you with additional resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems accessed via your myRMIT site.

A library subject guide is available at

Overview of Assessment

All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

Hurdle requirements are necessary in order to demonstrate to the accrediting body that students are competent and are being sufficiently assessed against practice-focussed professional standards throughout the course of their program.

Assessment Tasks

Hurdle Task 1 is a Manual Handling No Lift competency (HURDLE)

You are to demonstrate the ability to effectively understand and use the concepts of safe body mechanics within the clinical environment utilising the framework of “No Lift” techniques.

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3, 4 & 6

Assessment 1: MCQ and Short Answer online test

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs  1, 4, 5 & 7

Assessment 2: Student Clinical Skills Performance Assessment (PA) (HURDLE)

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7

Assessment 3: Final Examination - MCQ and Short Answer

Weighting 50%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7



A requirement of the course is that students must attend all laboratory sessions.

80% attendance is a requirement in order to gain a pass grade in this course. 

In order to pass the course students must satisfactorily demonstrate competence in the Manual handling No Lift Competency assessment, pass the Clinical Skills Performance Assessment and achieve a 50% accumulated grade from the remaining assessment items.