Course Title: Apply effective communication skills in nursing practice

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: NURS5271C

Course Title: Apply effective communication skills in nursing practice

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: Bundoora Campus

Program: C5313 - Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 Nursing)

Course Contact: Leeanne Mond

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4837

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Erica O’Donoghue


Phone:   +61 3 9925 7573

Nominal Hours: 40

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

            Not applicable

Course Description

This competency unit describes the skills and knowledge required for effective communication in complex communication situations and its application to nursing practice; the function and purpose of small groups; meeting procedures; and the dynamics of group work and evaluation as a tool for continuous improvement.

The unit is co-delivered with conjunction with HLTEN515B Implement and monitor nursing care for older together with HLTEN511B Provide Nursing care for Clients requiring Palliative care. 

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

HLTEN502B Apply effective communication skills in nursing practice


1. Use effective communication skills in complex situations

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Apply principles of effective communication, with an understanding of communication processes and factors that facilitate and inhibit communication

1.2 Maximise opportunities for staff to involve clients, family and carers in their care and treatment

1.3 Take into account the roles and responsibilities of various health care personnel involved in communicating in complicated situations

1.4 Complete all documentation detailing complicated and difficult situations complying with legal requirements

1.5 Apply a respectful and confidential manner throughout all communications

1.6 Provide a therapeutic environment in all interactions with clients through a caring, sensitive, confident and reassuring manner

1.7 Demonstrate politeness, respect and empathy in all interactions with clients, family and carers

1.8 Use health terminology correctly in written and verbal communication with clients, family, carers and colleagues, using accurate spelling and pronunciation


2. Deliver complex information effectively

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Deliver complex information in a manner that is clearly understood by clients, carers, colleagues and others

2.2 Allow time for complex information to be comprehended taking into account people's differing levels of understanding

2.3 Actively encourage clients, family and carers to share their information

2.4 Confirm the understanding of information by clients, carers, colleagues and others

2.5 Communicate effectively in an emergency situation in line with the health organisation policy and procedure and in consultation/collaboration with registered nurse

2.6 Address stressful situations using effective communication skills or refer to the most appropriate health care team member for resolution

2.7 Deliver complex information to clients/carers in a manner that enhances understanding and prevents 'information overload


3. Identify and address actual and potential constraints to communication

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Identify actual and potential constraints to effective communication in the workplace

3.2 Identify and apply communication strategies and techniques appropriate to a range of varying complicated situations

3.3 Identify early signs of potential complicated or difficult situations

3.4 Implement strategies to address complicated or difficult communication situations in line with relevant policies and procedures and within scope of role

3.5 Clarify roles of other health professionals involved in complicated communication situations

3.6 Clarify and address the issues and needs of people taking into account differing cultures, religious practices, language, physical disability and emotional state


4. Evaluate effectiveness of communication in complicated situations

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Document and report outcomes of communication strategies to address complicated situations

4.2 Refer to appropriate health personnel when situation is outside own role and responsibility

4.3 Assist in assessing the effectiveness of communication strategies in complicated situations

4.4 Ensure debriefing sessions are available for self and staff following difficult situations


5. Use information technology

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Use computers and related information technology to support nursing practice

5.2 Comply with organisation protocols for electronic communication with clients, family and carers

5.3 Use information technology, including the internet to access data appropriate to own role and organisation requirements

5.4 Use basic computing and word processing skills to access, develop and manipulate information in line with own role and organisation requirements


6. Lead small group discussions

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Monitor and respond appropriately to changing group dynamics

6.2 Clarify the purpose of group meetings and manage discussion in line to achieve identified objectives

6.3 Implement appropriate meeting procedures and roles of members to support effective contribution to discussion


7. Give and receive feedback for performance improvement

Performance Criteria:

7.1 Use feedback as a tool to achieve performance improvement

7.2 use appropriate language and a respectful manner to achieve performance improvement through feedback

7.3 Apply strategies to deliver constructive outcomes from giving and receiving feedback

7.4 Assess own performance as a basis for assessing the performance of others and providing feedback

7.5 Undertake mentoring within scope of practice of Enrolled/Division 2 nurse


8. Use the principles and processes of open disclosure effectively

Performance Criteria:

8.1 Apply organisation principles and processes of open disclosure in consultation/collaboration with registered nurse

8.2 Follow organisation processes for notifying adverse events to clients, family or carers

8.3 Outline potential impact of adverse events on clients, family and carers

8.4 Communicate effectively with clients after an adverse event in consultation/collaboration with registered nurse

8.5 Address own role and responsibilities in relation to open disclosure in line with organisation policies and procedures

8.6 Apply principles and practices of risk management and quality improvement in regard to open disclosure in consultation/collaboration with registered nurse

Learning Outcomes

These are described in the elements.

Details of Learning Activities

·   Classroom Delivery

·   Self Directed Learning

·   Laboratories

·   Clinical Placement Hours 

Teaching Schedule

Lesson 1: Effective Communication

Lesson 2: Roles of Healthcare

Lesson 3: Conflict resolution

Lesson 4:  Open Disclosure

Lesson 5:  Assessment 1 Questionnaire

Lesson 6:  Theory of Ageing

Lesson 7:  Disease Process:

Lesson 8:  Activities of Daily Living

Lesson 9:  ACAS/ACAT

Lesson 10: Care Planning

Lesson 11:  Aged Care Funding Instrument

Lesson 12:  Complex Issues

Lesson 13:  Massage in Palliative Care

Lesson 14:  Dementia

Lesson 15:  Needs Recognition

Lesson 16:  Symptoms of Dying

Lesson 17:  Loss & Grief

Lesson 18:  Last Rites


Computer Lab 1.   Computer IT Lab

Nursing Lab 2.   Activities of Daily Living - Part 1 &  2

Nursing Lab 3.   Remedial Massage in Palliative care - Part 1 & 2

Nursing Lab 4.  Documentation

Nursing Lab 5.  Pain  Part 1, Last Rites Part 2

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Kozier and Erb’s (2014) 3rd ed.,Vols 1,2,3.Fundamentals of nursing. Pearson. Australia


Listed within PowerPoint slides and Blackboard

Other Resources

Other Textbooks 

Accessible as eBooks via the RMIT Library (also able for download or purchase)

Brown, D., Edwards, H. (eds) 2014, 4th ed., Lewis’s medical surgical nursing: assessment and management of clinical problems, Marrickville, NSW,  Elsevier Australia

Tollefson, J., (2014) Clinical Psychomotor skills: assessment tools for nursing students. 5th ed.,South Melbourne. Centgage Learning

Additional resources:

Online via RMIT Blackboard (students require frequent access to computers, internet and printing facilities)

Overview of Assessment

The underpinning knowledge and skills for this competency will be assessed via the following methods

  • Classroom Activities
  • Clinical Placement
  • Written Assignment

Assessment Tasks

·         Lab computer hurdle

·         Classroom presentation

·         Group work – Care Plan

·         MP4 video assessment

Assessment in this course is conducted in conjunction with: HLTEN515B Care for older Clients and HLTEN511B Care for clients requiring palliative care, includes online tests, submissions, worksheets and practical assessments.

Assessment Matrix

See assessment matrix on Blackboard

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT assessment policies for, special consideration, extensions of time, equitable assessment arrangements and future assessment adjustments.


Re-submission of assessment

One further opportunity to demonstrate Clinical Lab competence, will be provided to students if not deemed Satisfactory at the time of clinical assessment.

Re-submission of Written work, or other assessments , (once only. Excluding Exams) can be granted on recommendation from the teacher and approval by Program Coordinator.


Plagiarism is a form of cheating in assessment and may occur in oral, written or visual presentations. It is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person, without appropriate referencing, as though it is your own:


Is an online service, in to which teachers and students submit student assignments into a large database, via Blackboard, refer Turnitin website

Course Overview: Access Course Overview