Course Title: Clinical Skills and Mental Health

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Clinical Skills and Mental Health

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note, that from Semester 1, 2019 this Course will be titled 'Clinical Skills and Mental Health'.


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019

Course Coordinator: Dr George Lenon

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6587

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.057

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required prior study (Pre-requisites)

Course Description

Clinical Skills and Mental Health is a one-semester course in which you will further advance your learning in clinical applications of Chinese herbal medicine, develop your understanding of infection control and various skills involved in the different forms of acupuncture treatment (including filiform needle and needleless acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, laser acupuncture and cutaneous needles). You will learn about different types of acupuncture techniques, including scalp, ear and other micro-systems. Other modalities of Chinese medicine such as cupping, tuina and moxibustion are also learned.

Key symptoms of the most frequent psychological disorders will be identified and the procedures and protocols which govern appropriate referrals to mental health professionals will be introduced and discussed. You will also develop advanced knowledge of code of conduct and effective communication skills central to professionals who work with clients.

This course includes a Work Integrated Learning experience in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where feedback from industry and/or community is integral to your experience. The WIL component will consist of observation of patients under supervision of a qualified and RMIT-approved Chinese medicine practitioner. You will be introduced to the Chinese Medicine Clinic as preparation for subsequent supervised clinical practice (COTH 2127 and COTH 2129). You will follow senior students and assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. You will also assist the senior students in the dispensing of herbs.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Objectives for BP278 Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine):

  • PLO1: provide specialised health care within a patient-centred, evidence-based framework
  • PLO2: gather clinical information to make accurate differential diagnoses, assessment and management plans, and carry out effective treatment
  • PLO3: practice as a competent health care professional in a safe, ethical and legally responsible manner
  • PLO4: demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity in the provision of specialised health care
  • PLO5: communicate effectively in a range of forms (written, online, oral) and with diverse audiences (patients, community/public, agencies and health professionals)
  • PLO6: work independently and in teams, specifically to lead and contribute to inter-professional care partnerships
  • PLO8: understand the historical development of the profession, its ethos, organisation and philosophical foundations.

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

  1. Explain the rationale and therapeutic aims for acupuncture, and manual techniques such as moxibustion, cupping, tuina, electroacupuncture, laser, scalp, ear and wrist ankle acupuncture treatment within the Chinese medicine theoretical paradigm and apply these appropriately in therapy.
  2. Review contraindications and cautions that relate to the application of herbal medicine, acupuncture and related manual techniques and therapies and detail the management of potential adverse events.
  3. Define the concept of mental illness in the context of Australian society and identify the symptoms and explain the principles of appropriate intervention for a range of common psychological disorders including mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, sexual abuse and schizophrenia.
  4. Observe senior practising students and assist them with history taking, physical examinations, formulation of a diagnosis and treatment plans using Chinese medicine for patients in the teaching clinic. Assist in the management of the herbal dispensary and dispensing herbal formulations.
  5. Adhere to the guidelines and procedures set by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (eg. infection control and safe practice of Chinese herbal medicine) and the teaching clinic, especially with reference to the privileges and responsibilities of a health professional; interact effectively and professionally with the patient in a therapeutic health care setting; and write up professional case histories.
  6. Apply knowledge and skills in code of conduct and communication in the clinical setting.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities include a mixture of face-to-face lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Learning experiences that foster the development of the capabilities to be developed in this course will include problem-based learning and case-based learning experiences. Learning experiences will also provide you the opportunity to practise skills and receive feedback.

You will have the opportunity for progressive feedback during the semester on your progress that may take the form of short tests/quizzes and/or individual analysis of case studies. Practice learning activities will be provided in a variety of ways, including observation and simulated learning activities.

Supervised practical class sessions are extremely important for your mastery of various modalities of acupuncture and other modalities of Chinese medicine. Self-directed learning: you are encouraged to practice needling techniques on self-made objects outside of the classroom.

Teacher Guided Hours: 140 per semester

80 hours of clinical practice and 60 with lectures, tutorials, online activities and practical sessions

Learner Directed Hours: 30 - 40 per 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. All material to be chosen will be digitally available to students. Lecture material will be delivered via online media. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. Chinese medicine library subject guides are available via



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. Visit for all relevant polices and guidelines set by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Progressive assessments

Weighting 35%

This assessment task aligns with CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 5

Assessment Task 2: Clinical practice and entrance examinations (HURDLE Requirement)

Weighting 15%

This assessment task aligns with CLOs 4, 5 & 6

Assessment Task 3: Written Examination

Weighting 50%

This assessment task aligns with CLOs 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6