Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to provide a greater knowledge and awareness of the social and cultural contexts in which students will be studying and working, and to introduce students to the Australian health care system. The unit will explore cultural practices and values within Australia, and common social, geographic, and cultural factors related to the health needs of and services for individuals, groups and communities. Health promotion and education, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) health issues will be a focus. Students will be introduced to reflective practice and have the opportunity to investigate factors that influence health care and build on the language related to health care. The aim of this unit is to familiarise students with the Australian health care system, and to provide insight into the relevant historical, social and cultural contexts in which it operates.

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 - Identify key concepts in the Australian health system. [GA5, GA8] 

LO2 - Describe common social, geographic, and cultural factors related to the health needs of and services for individuals, groups and communities. [GA1, GA5] 

LO3 - Categorise the various types of health care services and health care providers in Australia.[GA5] 

LO4 - Classify the various health professions in Australia and their regulation. [GA5] 

LO5 - Explain the role of health promotion and innovation in preventative health care. [GA1, GA5] 

LO6 - Explain health consumer rights in Australia and their relevance to health care providers. [GA1, GA5] 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

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


Topics will include: 

  • The Australian Health Care System  
  • Types of Health Care (e.g. Primary Care, Hospital Care, Aged Care, Community and Home Care, Mental Health Care, Disability and Palliative Care) 
  • Social and Cultural Factors Affecting Health and Health Services 
  • Alternative Health Practices   
  • Health Promotion, Innovation and Technology in Health Care 
  • The Rights of Health Care Consumers (Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights) 
  • Health Professions and Governance Structures 
  • Australian Standards and Competencies for Health Professions 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The teaching and learning strategies in this unit encourage student collaboration, participation and interaction. Active and collaborative learning strategies are promoted both within and outside the classroom setting, allowing you to explore and gain an understanding of areas of public health and healthcare which are new to you. Activities involve whole class and small group work, and peer learning is developed through a variety of tasks and activities. Small and large group work is utilised to consolidate your understanding of content, to foster critical thinking and to promote the development of oral skills and written communication. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to enable students to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. The tasks have been selected and designed to assist in preparing for the content and assessment requirements in undergraduate studies in health sciences, and to build on the knowledge and understanding of key concepts in health care. Assessment design supports the skills required to communicate about health care in Australia.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Mid-Semester test (in-class) 

This task is designed to provide early feedback and to assess your knowledge and understanding of the content taught in weeks 1 to 5 of the semester.  You will be required to explain and articulate certain key concepts which will be built on throughout the unit. 



GA8, GA9 

Group Presentation 

A requirement of tertiary study is to participate in collaborative group work. In this task you are assessed on your ability to work collaboratively to locate, evaluate, organise and deliver information on key concepts in the Australian health system, and to reflect on group work skills and experience. 



 GA7,GA8, GA9 

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Final Exam 


This will assess your understanding of content presented in the unit. You will be required to demonstrate your skills in critical thinking, reading and writing in relation to health care principles and professions.  



GA5, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Eckerman, A., Dowd, T., Chong, E., Nixon, L., Gray, R., & Johnson, S. (Eds) (2010). Binang Goonj: Bridging cultures in Aboriginal health (3rd ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W.: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia. 

Germov, J. (2014). Second Opinion. An Introduction to Health Sociology (5th ed.). Melbourne, Victoria. OUP Australia and New Zealand. Available online through the ACU Library database. 

Halley, M. B. (2009). A guide for international nursing students in Australia and New Zealand. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier  

Keleher, H. & MacDougall, C. (Eds) (2011). Understanding Health: a determinants approach. 3rd Edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 

Palmer, G., & Short, S (2010). Health care and public policy: an Australian analysis (4th ed.). South Yarra, Vic.: Palgrave Macmillan. 

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