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BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1


BIOL124 - Human Body in Health and Disease 1, BIOL125 Human Biology 1 , BIOL126 Human Biology 2 , BIOL204 Human Body in Health and Disease 2

Teaching organisation

Teaching and learning strategies will include lectures, tutorials, web-based learning and science laboratory activities. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.

Unit rationale, description and aim

To prevent and manage diseases, promote health and care for their patients/clients, health professionals need to have an understanding of disease processes and drug action.   

In this unit students extend their knowledge of the human body by developing an understanding of pathophysiology and pharmacology with respect to selected National Health Priority (NHP) areas and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM). The influence of lifespan changes will also be introduced in the context of these areas and drug administration. Basic principles of microbiology will be linked to infection control practices.

Students will apply scientific knowledge to understand disease processes, risk factors associated with them, and their prevention/management (including pharmacological treatment options) for successful progression to later units in their respective courses.

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 basic principles of pharmacology with respect to Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) (GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Describe the pathophysiology of selected National Health Priority areas to explain their respective clinical manifestations, prevention, and pharmacological management (GA4, GA9)

LO3 - Explain how physiological changes that occur across the lifespan impact on disease processes and drug administration (GA4, GA9) 

LO4 - Relate microbiological principles to infection control practices (GA4, GA5) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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

ANMC Competency Standards Nurse developed in this unit are: 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia National Competency Standards for Registered Nurse developed in this unit are: 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Professional Practice 2.6 


Critical Thinking and Analysis 3.3 

LO1,LO2, LO3,LO4

Provision and Coordination of Care 

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 6.2, 8.1, 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Collaborative and Therapeutic Practice 9.5 


Standards/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes


Topics will include:

Principles of pathophysiology

  • Inflammation and cell death
  • Oedema
  • Healing
  • Thrombosis

Principles of pharmacology

  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Adverse drug reactions
  • Drug interactions
  • Selected drug groups based on NHP areas

Microbiological principles

  • Prevention and control of infection

National Health Priority (NHP) areas

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis and selected musculoskeletal conditions
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Dementia and selected mental health problems
  • Obesity

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active approach with lectures and workshop classes that are supported by online activities. Lectures convey necessary information so that students can gain an overall understanding of and make connections between different components of the learning material. Lectures also inspire questions and provide opportunities for students to check their understanding. Workshop classes consolidate student learning in a supported environment. A series of pre-class activities allow students to build foundational knowledge and evaluate their understanding in order to successfully undertake workshop classes. In workshop classes, students work collaboratively and engage in activities such as reading, writing, discussion, and problem solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. Case studies are also used so that students can test and apply their understanding in real world-like scenarios. Various online activities provide students with feedback regarding their understanding of the relevant topic.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students must obtain an aggregate mark of equal to or greater than 50% for the assessment tasks.

The assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge of pathophysiology and pharmacology. The first assessment task is divided into two parts and primarily focusses on knowledge acquisition and assimilation. Part A is an online quiz which assesses basic principles of pathophysiology and pharmacology. This online quiz is an early assessment task, which enables students to receive early feedback regarding their progress in the unit. Part B requires students to relate basic pathology and pharmacology principles to certain National Health Priority areas. The vodcast assessment task requires students to produce a voice recording with accompanying visual material based on a person who has a disease/condition that is a National Health Priority area. This assessment task allows students to apply their knowledge of pathophysiology and pharmacology to a real situation. The final, written assessment task assesses integration and application of key concepts covered in this unit.   

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Part A

This quiz enables students to use appropriate resources to demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of pathophysiology and pharmacology, including lifespan influences on drug administration.

Part B

This quiz enables students to relate disease processes to clinical outcomes and pharmacological management of selected National Health Priority areas.



LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA9


The vodcast is an oral presentation that enables students to apply their understanding of pathophysiology and pharmacology in a real life-like scenario by introducing a person who suffers from a disease that is a National Health Priority Area.


LO2, LO3


Written assignment

The final assessment task enables students to showcase their critical thinking skills to demonstrate their ability to integrate and apply key concepts covered in this unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 


Representative texts and references

Bryant, B., Knights, K. Darroch, S. & Rowland, A. (2019). Pharmacology for health professionals (5th ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier.

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

Copstead, L.C., & Banasik, J.L. (2018). Pathophysiology (6th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders.

Hall, J.E., & Hall, M.E. (2021). Guyton and Hall: Textbook of medical physiology (14th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders.

Lee, G. & Bishop, P. (2016). Microbiology and infection control for health professionals (6th ed.). French’s Forest, NSW: Prentice Hall.

Martini, F., Nath, J. & Bartholomew, E. (2018). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (11th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin/Cummings.

McCance, K., & Huether, S. (Eds.) (2019). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children.(8th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Mosby.

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