Course Title: Complementary Care in Nursing

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Complementary Care in Nursing

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007


Hamilton Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007


Sale Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2007

Course Coordinator: Ann Paterson

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7447

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora West Campus, Building 201, Level 7, Room 16

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is offered as a university elective. It is suited for students of nursing and health related disciplines who wish to explore various healing therapies and modalities that can be seen to either complement or be integrated into holistic health care. 

Course Description

This course explores a range of healing therapies and modalities that can be seen to either complement or be integrated into holistic nursing practice and health care in general. Concepts of health and healing that underpin these healing therapies and modalities will be considered. Benefits to health and healing processes that can be gained from the judicious use of these therapeutic interventions will be explored, as will consumer trends in health care. Research and scientific/non-scientific explanations of modes of action and efficacy will be examined. Ethical, legal, and general practice issues that arise with the nursing usage of complementary interventions will be addressed, for example informed consent, policy development, competence and methods whereby complementary care can be introduced into practice. Educational and skill preparation of nurses and complementary therapists and practitioners in the use of complementary therapies will be debated. Social and cultural considerations which can have implications for the inclusion of complementary care in nursing practice will be addressed.
Key Issues
· Holistic and complementary nursing care practices
· Health and healing benefits of such practices
· Professional practice issues
· Practitioner preparation

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students are expected to demonstrate capability relating to the broad program capabilities and competencies, particularly those relating to the ANC National Nursing Competencies

Domain: Professional/Ethical Practice

2. Functions in accordance with legislation and common law affecting nursing
2.2  Demonstrates an awareness of the legal implications of actions taken in
       nursing practice
2.3  Demonstrates knowledge of policies and procedures that have legal
       implications for practice
4. Demonstrates accountability for nursing practice
4.1  Accepts accountability for own actions
5.    Conducts nursing practice in a way that can be ethically justified
5.4  Maintains an effective process of care when confronted by differing
        values, beliefs and biases of the client
6. Recognises own abilities and level of professional competence
6.1  Practices within the limits of own abilities and qualifications
6.2  Consults other health care professionals when individual/group needs
       fall outside the scope of nursing practice
8.    Recognises the value of research in contributing to developments in nursing
       and improved standards of care
8.2 Incorporates research findings into nursing practice

Domain: Enabling

9. Maintains a physical and psychosocial environment which promotes safety,
    security and optimal health.
9.2    Provides for the comfort needs of individuals
10.    Acts to enhance the dignity and integrity of individuals and groups
10.2 Respects the values, customs and spiritual beliefs of individuals and

Having studied this subject, students will be able to:

· analyse the concept of holistic nursing
· identify a wide range of concepts and models of health which underpin health beliefs and practices in the multicultural community
· discuss theoretical concepts and principles of complementary health care;
· examine critically the possibility of introducing a range of complementary healing therapies and modalities into nursing practice
· evaluate health benefits which can be gained from the incorporation of complementary therapies into holistic nursing practice
· discuss consumer trends in health care
· critically appraise scientific and non-scientific research studies involving complementary therapies
· discuss safe administration of complementary therapy in association with orthodox pharmacological treatments (medications)
· debate research methods which can best explore particular healing modalities in nursing practice
· explore ethical and legal issues associated with the implementation of complementary therapies and modalities into nursing practice
· examine current recommendations governing the teaching and practice of complementary therapies in nursing
· discuss current and future needs in the educational preparation of nurses in the use of complementary therapies in nursing practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

This course will require student to follow the structure of the course together with identified reading material. Specific research as well as basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, medical and surgical procedures and practices, aged care and mental health care will underpin discussions on complementary health care interventions such as relaxation strategies and the use of therapies such as massage and aromatherapy. Students will be able to utilize case studies that they have generated in earlier courses and clinical practicum situations. They will have the opportunity to integrate complementary care opportunities within these existing case studies. The case study structure will allow for discussion, debate and deconstruction of specific topics and issues identified within the course. This format will also allow students opportunity to engage in debate of contentious issues for example, research proven care strategies versus non-research proven care strategies as well as reflecting on previous experiences. Case study development will be a formal on-going class activity, ensuring that all students have adequate opportunity to obtain feedback on their own case study development styles and skills prior to submitting their case study for assessment. These exercises will also foster the development of reflective practice as they identify how nursing care can be enhanced.

Overview of Learning Resources

Lectures in  Power Point presentations will be available on the DLS  and also suggested additional reading and links. On line access ensures flexibility of access and learning for the students with resultant independence of of study time and location.

There is a reading list provided, including both required and suggested material. Text books, journal articles and the electronic media also provide learning resources for students undertaking this course.

A small number of related Videos will be shown during the semester.

Overview of Assessment

There are two components:
Written Case Study 50%
Written Take Home Examination 50% 

Case study
Recommended word limit: 1500 words.  A Case study marking guide will be provided.

The examination will be a ‘short answer’ take home exam.