Credit points


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  • Term Mode
  • ACU Term 2Online Unscheduled
  • ACU Term 4Online Unscheduled



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Best practice in mental health requires that practitioners are able to reflect on and develop understanding of their practice. Clinical Supervision is identified as a core component of contemporary professional mental health nursing practice in a number of professional standard documents.

This unit explores the principles underpinning personal and professional development and reflective practice, in order to promote the development of higher order critical thinking supportive of professional practice at an advanced level. Students will explore the importance of self-awareness when monitoring their own practice and the extent to which they work within personal, professional and organisational values and principles. Students will explore contemporary opinion and research on emotional intelligence / literacy and how this relates to their practice in mental health. A focus on continuing professional development and clinical supervision activities to enhance knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed for safe and effective mental health practice will be incorporated.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of reflective practice and clinical supervision and apply these principles in their own practice setting.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Explain the principles underpinning personal and professional development, clinical supervision, peer mentoring and reflective practiceGC1, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO2Apply principles of clinical supervision, mentoring and peer debriefing within the context of mental health practice to engage therapeutically with individuals, their families, carers/significant others based on self-awareness and critical reflection on practice and critical reflection on the contexts within which care takes placeGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO3Analyse the principles and skills of emotional intelligence/literacy to build positive relationships, maintain mental and physical well-being and to achieve personal growth and professional goalsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO4Develop a commitment to the need for continuing professional development and clinical supervision activities to enhance the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes needed for safe and effective mental health practiceGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11


Topics will include:

Theoretical frameworks of therapeutic communication and self-awareness within interpersonal relationships

  • Therapeutic communication
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-acceptance
  • Trust & Self disclosure
  • Support & interpersonal communication
  • Strength, hope & resilience models of care

The use of emotional intelligence / literacy

  • Effective management and leadership
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Functional and adaptive relationships
  • Ethical imperatives and considerations

Professional / personal development and reflective practice

  • Theory, knowledge & skills re own emotional responses
  • Assessment of effects, outcomes of own emotional responses
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Implications for practice
  • Critical analysis of professional boundaries & relationships

Professional /personal development and clinical supervision

  • Models of clinical supervision
  • Performance management
  • Mentoring
  • Quality of care
  • Reflective practice
  • Practice development
  • Empowerment
  • Personal mental health

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding and application, and to engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments used in this unit include assessable content from synchronous webinar discussions, a written assignment, focusing on analysis of a critical workplace incident using a reflective model, and an ePortfolio demonstrating breadth and depth of document analysis and reading, and evidence of ongoing engagement in clinical supervision. Assessments are designed for students to cumulatively demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Assessments have been designed to provide students with the opportunity to first develop and document their understanding of unit content through collaborative dialogue. The second assessment task provides an opportunity for students to critical reflect on how they can utilise reflective practice through application of the principles to a clinical practice event. The final assessment task is a cap[stone activity in which students are required to provide evidence of their use of reflective practice and clinical supervision in their professional practice and integrate this evidence with their theoretical understanding to write a personal philosophy statement.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment 1: Critical Practice Example and Reflection

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the principles underpinning reflective practice by critical reflection on a clinical event from their clinical practice.


LO1, LO2, LO4

Assessment 2: ePortfolio

Students will create an ePortfolio detailing their developing understanding and application of the theoretical and practical aspects of undertaking reflective practice and clinical supervision. Students will include artefacts to demonstrate their involvement in clinical supervision. These artefacts will be used to underpin the writing of a personal philosophy of reflective practice and clinical supervision. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Foster, K., Marks, P., O'Brien. A. & Raeburn, T. (2022). Mental health in nursing, 6th ed. Elsevier 

Health & Community Services Union (2017). Clinical supervision for mental health nurses: A framework for Victoria. Retrieved from

Hercelinskjy, G. & Alexander, L. (2022). Mental health nursing: applying theory to practice, Revised ed. Cengage: Singapore. 

King, C., Edlington, T. & Williams, B. (2020). The “ideal” clinical supervision environment in nursing and allied health. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 13: 187-196.

Martin, P., Copley, J. & Tyack, Z. (2014). Twelve tips for effective clinical supervision based on a narrative literature review and expert opinion. Medical Teacher, 36: 201-207.

O’Toole, G. (2020). Communication: Core interpersonal skills for healthcare practitioners, 4th edition. Elsevier.

Victorian Government (2022). Victorian Allied health clinical supervision framework. Retrieved from

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