Course Title: Complex Nursing Care

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Complex Nursing Care

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020


Hamilton Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012


Sale Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Karen Livesay

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7070

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.07.011

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

System Enforced Pre-requisites (Enforced by SAMS)

Course Description

This course will continue your development of key nursing concepts through the hyper-acute stage of care and the management of the person with complex care needs. It will enable you to consider the impact of multiple physiologies on the person with multiple comorbidities and the delicate balance of meeting those needs within the constraints of scientific and healthcare advancement and within the framework of the Australian National Health Priority Areas.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP302 Bachelor of Nursing Program in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Australia, Registered Nurse Standards for Practice (2016):

  • 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 the course you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the role of clinical decision making and prioritisation in the circumstance of the complex co-morbid patient
  2. Review the practice of physical assessment for acutely and chronically ill patients with multiple co-morbidities
  3. Examine the implications of chronic illness on the acutely ill patient and the challenges they present in the health care setting.
  4. Critically review the evidence for treatment strategies used in the acutely ill patient.
  5. Identify the principles of nursing management of acutely ill patients in the contemporary health care setting
  6. Demonstrate (by means of simulated practice) the application of requisite nursing knowledge and skills in the acutely ill patient
  7. Apply clinical decision making and problem solving skills to care for patients with complex disorders

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 acute and complex clinical practice.

Learning activities may include modalities such as lectures, podcasts and self-directed learning through Canvas discussion boards and activities, and additional reading as well as simulated laboratory learning experiences.

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 complex acute nursing practice. 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.

Teacher Guided Hours: 48 per semester - comprising of 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of supervised laboratory learning per week

Learner Directed Hours: 72 per semester which will include skills laboratory practice comprised of self-directed learning, as well as completion of readings and review of materials

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of primary and secondary sources. Where possible all selected material will be digitally available to you. Lecture material may be delivered using a variety of learning modes such as lectures/laboratory sessions, and recorded content through Canvas and discussion boards. 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. It is expected students will make use of electronic databases and ejournals available through the RMIT library to support their learning

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).

A hurdle requirement is 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

Assessment Task 1: Simulation Assessment and Skills Laboratory Attendance Drug Calculations competency (HURDLE Requirement)

Weighting 20%

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

Drug calculation competency assessment will be in the form of 2 dosage calculation tests. Each test will comprise 10 questions. The scores from these tests will be combined to give the overall mark for the drug calculations. You are required to achieve 100% in the second calculation test. If you do not achieve 100% in the second test you will be required to re-sit the test however the original mark will remain and contribute to the overall result. Students will be able to re-sit the test multiple times to achieve 100%. If 100% is not achieved by the completion of the simulation assessments the student will record an unsatisfactory grade (NH) for the course.

The simulation assessment will examine your clinical skills and knowledge in the management of an acutely unwell patient. Calculation of drug dosage and infusion rates will be included as part of the simulation assessment. You must satisfactorily complete the drug / IV calculation during the simulation assessment

Students are expected to address all three domains of learning – cognitive, affective and psychomotor – when being tested. If the student does not gain a pass for the simulation assessment, he or she will be offered only one further opportunity to demonstrate a safe level of practice prior to the end of semester Course Assessment Committee meeting. As this is a compulsory requirement for the course if you fail to present safe practice at this final attempt, you will not gain a pass and receive a NH grade for the course overall.

80% attendance at skills laboratory sessions is compulsory.

Assessment Task 2: Media Annotation

Weighting 30%

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

This part of the assessment requires the student to review a video of nursing management of a deteriorating patient and assess the performance of the treating team and individuals.

Assessment Task 3: End of Semester exam

Weighting 50%

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

An end of semester exam will be conducted during the exam period with 50% multiple choice and 50% short answer questions.