Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


ACOM108 Communicating as a Health Professional 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

To be successful in this unit, you will need to build on the knowledge of medical terminology and understanding of body systems, disease processes and health behaviours that you developed in ACOM108. You will work both independently and in small groups, and be encouraged to develop critical thinking skills.

The aim of this unit is to consolidate and further develop the communication skills you will need as a health practitioner in a variety of settings by expanding your health related language and communication skills, in particular your oral communication skills with clients and their relatives.

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 - Explain disease processes and health behaviours associated with the body systems. [GA9] 

LO2 -Comprehend and use a range of common medical terminology in a health care context. [GA9] 

LO3 -Identify and synthesise relevant health related information from written and auditory material. [GA8, GA9] 

LO4 -Accurately apply language and grammar appropriate to the health professions in oral and written communication. [GA8, GA9] 

LO5 -Communicate and respond appropriately with colleagues and clients in a health-related context. [GA8, GA9] 

Graduate attributes

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

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


Topics will include: 


Language and terminology 

  • The language of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease 
  • Emergency situations and response  
  • Common health issues related to the blood and lymphatic system  
  • The cardiovascular system: disorders and health behaviours 
  • The gastrointestinal system: disorders and health behaviours 
  • The respiratory system: disorders and health behaviours 
  • The urinary tract: disorders and health behaviours 
  • The endocrine system: disorders and health behaviours 
  • Reproductive systems: disorders and health behaviours  
  • The nervous system: disorders and health behaviours  
  • Abbreviations, euphemisms, acronyms  
  • Pronunciation of key terms 

Communicating with clients and health practitioners 

  • Listening, attending and responding 
  • Beginning, continuing and ending interviews 
  • Dealing with emergencies 
  • Engaging with clients – interpersonal communication 
  • Discussing sensitive issues 
  • Handovers 
  • Documentation 
  • Self and peer assessment of communication skills 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit takes an active learning and enquiry-based approach in order to encourage problem solving, and to build the knowledge, confidence and communication skills required as a health professional when dealing with clients and other health professionals.  You will be provided with case studies to further explore content and language, and to provide practice for selecting and transmitting relevant information. There will be peer and small-group learning to support the understanding of content and the development of communicative competence. Workshop activities include scaffolding tasks for the assessments, such as patient summary writing analysis and practice and a prepared version of the impromptu role play. 


Mode/attendance pattern: Three face-to-face hours per week delivered in one 3-hour workshop. The purpose of this mode is to allow students to apply theory and content within the classroom setting, and to enable the facilitation of skills practice and development. In addition, it promotes an active learning environment with greater interaction. 


Duration: 12 week-semester or equivalent in intensive block mode. Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including class attendance, readings and assignment preparation. 


Assessment strategy and rationale

The tasks have been selected and designed to assist in preparing you for the assessment requirements of your undergraduate studies in health sciences, and to build on knowledge and skills acquired in semester one. The purpose of the assessments is to assess your communicative competence and your handling of content and discipline-specific language. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Writing test – Patient Summary.    

The writing summary allows you to demonstrate your ability to write clearly and accurately in the genre of a clinical summary. It is scheduled first as it builds on knowledge and skills from Semester 1, but is based on more challenging content and requires greater knowledge and understanding. 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA8, GA9 

Impromptu Role Play assessment 

The impromptu role play assesses your oral communication skills and content knowledge in an unplanned, discipline-specific context. It assess your ability to communicate with clients and to succinctly and accurately transfer information to health-profession. As it demands confidence in content knowledge and communicative competence, it is scheduled later in the semester. 


LO2, LO4, LO5 

GA8, GA9 

Final Exam

(Listening and note-taking, vocabulary and knowledge, reading discipline-related texts, writing on health-related topics) The exam allows students to demonstrate their ability to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the unit in an independent setting


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Cohen, B.J. (2017) Medical Terminology – An Illustrated Guide. (8th Ed.) Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott Williams and Wilkins: U.S. 

Mosby's E-Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions - Retail Version 8th Edition 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs