Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

As clinical care becomes more complex it is important that all care team members work in a collaborative and professional manner to care for healthcare consumers with complex clinical issues. The person-centred care model prioritises involvement of a care team approach that includes not only the health care professionals but also the individual healthcare consumer and immediate family. This unit is required by students to support their development of specialist nursing knowledge and skills and to ensure that they function in this team and continue to advocate for and represent the healthcare consumer's needs.

This unit focuses on the specialist nursing role and the significance of that role in inter-professional communication, teamwork and shared clinical decision making. Evidence-based specialist clinical knowledge and skills are required to prepare students for the provision of improved care outcomes for all health care consumers.

The aim of this unit is for students to analyse, evaluate and demonstrate knowledge and clinical competence for safe person- and family-centred care relevant to the area of specialist practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the significance of specialist clinical nursing knowledge and skills; inter-professional communication and teamwork in the specialist clinical setting (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of shared clinical decision making within the specialist clinical setting (GA4, GA7, GA10)

LO3 - Apply and evaluate specialist clinical knowledge and skills in relation to clinical assessment and variations in health status of healthcare consumers within the specialist clinical setting which reflects cultural safety practices and person-centred care (GA3, GA4, GA7, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • The role of the specialty nurse:            
  • the roles performed by health professionals
  • the continuum of care requirements for persons receiving care
  • Principles of interprofessional communication:
  • Interprofessional relationships and collaboration
  • information and communications technologies
  • Holistic health assessment skills:
  • integration of anatomy, physiology, development and pathophysiology
  • nursing assessment relevant to the specialty
  •      Variations in health status of persons in the specialty context: 
  • analysis and interpretation of assessment data
  • determination of the significance of assessment data
  • prioritising and planning care
  • evaluating care
  • Evaluation of evidence for practice
  • clinical decision making:
  • the impact of clinical decision making on health outcomes
  • Principles of health promotion:
  • Person- and family-centred health promotion
  • Cultural Competence
  • knowledge and skills that support caring for people across different language groups and cultures

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies utilised in this unit will support students in meeting the aim and achieving the learning outcomes relevant to this unit as well as to the broader course learning outcomes.

Through an online learning platform, students will have the opportunity to focus on their clinical nursing specialist practice to explore inter-professional teamwork, communication, clinical decision making and person-centred care. In constructing specialist nursing knowledge and skill, students will evaluate care strategies that they will be able to apply within the specialist clinical setting. Modes of delivery in this unit include online readings and group activities through the online learning platform (LEO) and self-directed learning. The learning and teaching strategy used in this unit assists students in linking specialist clinical nursing theory to specialist clinical nursing practice and in developing shared meanings through online experiential reflections and discussions. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit three graded assessment tasks and pass a hurdle requirement. In addition, students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across all assessments. In order to reward students for engagement and performance, a final graded result will be awarded.

The assessment strategy used in this unit encourages the progressive development of specialist clinical nursing knowledge and skills necessary for the student to be able to work effectively in a multi-discipline team to care for clients in the specialty clinical health setting. In order to become an effective specialist clinical nurse, the student must first develop comprehensive understanding of the specialist nursing role, inter-professional communication and teamwork. Shared decision making is a key element of effective inter-professional teams and this is further developed and assessed.

In real world practice, it is a requirement that the registered nurse have the ability to deliver clinical care and understand the theoretical underpinnings which direct these actions. This requirement exists because all registered nurses are accountable for their actions and poor choices may have severe adverse health consequences for healthcare consumers and/or communities. This unit includes specialist competencies (included in a professional portfolio) which must be passed for students to demonstrate sound knowledge required to support safe clinical practice. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written essay – analysis

Enables students to engage with the core module content to analyse the specialty nursing role, inter-professional communication and teamwork.



GA4, GA5

Short answer quiz

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of shared clinical decision making within their specialty.



GA4, GA7, GA9

Specialty Nursing Assessment and Care Case Studies

Enables students to demonstrate specialty nursing supported by contemporary quality evidence.



GA3, GA4, GA7, GA9, GA10

Hurdle: Professional Portfolio – Clinical nursing competency assessment and reflective journal

Enables students to demonstrate clinical competence in specialty nursing and their ability to reflect on practice improvement.


LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA7, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Within each learning module, students will find links to various chapters from the following texts. Most of these books are available as eBooks accessible through the ACU library.

Arnold, E., & Boggs, K. U. (2019). Interpersonal relationships: professional communication skills for nurses (8th ed.). Saunders.

Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2019). Principles of biomedical ethics (8th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Bryant, B., & Knights, K. (2019). Pharmacology for health professionals (5th ed.). Elsevier.

Bullock, S., & Hales, M. (2019). Principles of pathophysiology (2nd ed.). Pearson.

Estes, M. E. Z., Calleja, P., Theobald, K., & Harvey, T. (2016). Health assessment and physical examination (Australian and New Zealand 2nd ed.). Cengage Learning Australia.

Greenhalgh, T. M., Bidwell, J., Crisp, E., Lambros, A., & Warland, J. (2019). Understanding research methods for evidence-based practice in health (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

Hoffmann, T., Bennett, S., & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice across the health professions (3rd ed.). Elsevier.

McCance, K. L., Huether, S.E., Brashers, V. L., & Rote, N. S. (Eds.), (2019). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (7th ed.). Elsevier. 

Patton, K., & Thibodeau, G. (2019). Anatomy & physiology (10th ed.). Elsevier/Mosby.

Taylor, K. (2019). Health care and Indigenous Australians: cultural safety in practice (3rd ed.). Macmillan International Higher Education: Red Globe Press.

Recommended specialty textbooks will be listed in LEO.

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