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

Graduates entering the health care professions require a thorough understanding of the activities they will be required to perform and the scope under which they will practice. This foundational unit is required by students to achieve course learning outcomes related to contemporary professional practice, and the foundational skills needed by health care providers to perform their duties.

This inter-professional unit introduces the contemporary context and concepts relevant to professional health practice. Parameters of professional practice, leadership and governance structures are also introduced. Beginning clinical skills in infection control, health assessment and hygiene will be developed in on campus laboratories, focusing on the principles of workplace health and safety. Theoretical and practical aspects of professional communication will be addressed with a focus on strategies and developing skills for building professional, collaborative partnerships with health care consumers and members of the interdisciplinary team.

The unit will include a module on working with children, young people and vulnerable adults that will focus on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to fundamental contemporary health care concepts, including therapeutic communication, professional communication, safe practice and clinical decision making.

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 historical and contemporary contexts related to the organisation of health care in Australia today

LO2 - Compare the roles and responsibilities of the health professions in a typical interdisciplinary health team; (GA4) 

LO3 - Explain the theoretical and professional dimensions of therapeutic and inter-professional communication; (GA5, 9) 

LO4 - Demonstrate therapeutic and inter-professional communication skills appropriate for interactions with health care consumers, families and colleagues; (GA5, 7, 9) 

LO5 - Demonstrate and reflect on person-centred clinical skills to safely assess health status, administer medications, promote comfort and maintain safety in the clinical environment; (GA5) 

LO6 - Explain the theoretical bases of clinical decision making frameworks and processes; 

LO7 - Use clinical decision making frameworks to identify health care priorities and initiate a therapeutic plan in selected case studies; (GA4, 6) 

LO8 - Use information technology effectively to support their learning. (GA10) 

LO9 - Demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults (GA1, GA5) 

Graduate attributes

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

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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.

Standards/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Professional Practice 

1.1-1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, 2.7 

1, 2, 4, 6, 8 

Critical Thinking and Analysis 

3.3, 4.4 

Provision and Coordination of Care 

5.1-5.3, 6.1, 7.2 

3, 7, 8 

Collaborative and Therapeutic Practice 

9.1, 9.2, 10.1 

1, 3, 4, 5


Topics will include: 

Contemporary context and organisation of health care in Australia 

  • Historical influences on the practice of health care today 
  • The health care system 
  • National and State health priorities 
  • Health workforce priorities 
  • Funding 
  • Public and Private health sectors 
  • Health Care Service delivery 
  • Primary Health Care 

Roles and responsibilities of health professionals 

  • Legislation governing practice 
  • Practice competencies, practice ethics, practice conduct and scope of practice. 
  • Introduction to professional portfolios as evidence of competency 
  • Maintaining safety in the clinical setting 

Professional interpersonal communication 

  • Interpersonal self-awareness 
  • Developing a therapeutic partnership 
  • Communication micro skills 
  • Active listening 
  • Advocacy and assertiveness 
  • Responding to difficult emotions (e.g. anger, sadness) 
  • Working within groups 

Clinical decision making 

  • Clinical decision making theories and frameworks related to: 
  • Problem solving 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Reflection 
  • Clinical decision-making tools e.g. “Clinical pathways” and “Interdisciplinary care plans” 
  • Application of clinical decision making to case studies 

Specific skills 

Developing a therapeutic partnership 

  • Professional role behaviour 
  • Rapport building 
  • Active listening skills 
  • Information gathering skills 

Maintaining a safe environment (Infection Control) 

  • Standard and additional precautions/infection control 
  • Handwashing 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) 
  • Disposal of clinical waste 

Maintaining a safe environment (Injury and falls prevention) 

  • Manual handling 
  • Environmental safety 
  • Fall prevention 
  • Mobility aides 

Activities of daily living 

Assessment of vital signs and pulse oximetry 

Assisting the health care consumer with hygiene care 

Safe administration of medication 

  • Principles of oral and topical medication administration 
  • Calculation competency 

Building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include lectures, tutorials, practical laboratories, online activities and self-directed study. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will provide students with advanced knowledge and skills relevant to professional practice. These strategies will also support students in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively with peers.  

Students entering university need significant support to transition into a learning and teaching environment where they are required to drive their own learning. To guide students in their learning feedback is required to identify what is being done well, what requires additional work to identify progress toward required learning outcomes. Located in the first year of the program, this inter-professional unit includes significant face-to-face teaching hours during which clinical laboratories are used to assist students in linking theory with practice. Clinical laboratories and simulation deliver interactive learning sessions which assist students in applying their theory to practice while also providing an opportunity to learn community skills.  

Lectures are utilised to convey content and its central principles while tutorials assist students in applying theory to clinical practice and to build critical reflective skills. Online materials provide students with the opportunity to manage the significant component of directed, self-motivated study required for graduate practice and life-long learning skills. 

The Working with Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults module is an online module that will take approximately 2 hours to complete. Upon completion participants will be given a record of completion.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures consistent with University assessment requirements will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes.  

The portfolio engages students with their pending practice environment. It evaluates key knowledge and concepts and its application within professional practice which will direct future practice as a health care provider. The drug dose calculation evaluates the students’ ability to calculate correct and accurate drug doses to promote safe practice.  

The examination evaluates knowledge and understanding critical for the safe, appropriate and informed delivery of multi-disciplinary health care; it assesses an understanding of issues specific to therapeutic partnerships, appropriate interventions and safe environments. These assessments are required to build student knowledge which, by the conclusion of this program, will allow the student to graduate as a safe and effective health care professional.  

There are two hurdles in this clinical unit; the hurdles assess knowledge that is so essential to the unit that the student cannot progress in the course unless a pass is achieved in each hurdle. In real world practice, it is a requirement that the student demonstrates professional competence and demonstrates professional standards. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Portfolio: (1600 words)  

Enables students to engage with their pending practice environment. It evaluates key knowledge and practice underpinning practice which will direct future practice as a health care professional. 


LO3, LO4, LO5, LO7,  LO8 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9, GA10 

Drug calculations 

(ungraded-100% pass required)


(Hurdle requirement) 



Written assignment (800 words) 

Enables students to demonstrate understanding of key principles and concepts underpinning the delivery of health care. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA9

Written Examination (2hrs) (Central Exam Period) 

Enables students to demonstrate understanding of key principles and concepts underpinning the delivery of health care. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO6,  LO7 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9 

Working with Vulnerable Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults online module: 

Online multiple choice or short answer questions in 4 sub-modules. At the completion of each of 4 parts. Students will need to pass the first sub-module with a pass mark of 75% percent before progressing to the next sub-module. 

Note: Completion of this module does not exempt students from seeking a Working with Children Card or a Police Check where this is appropriate or mandated. 


(Hurdle requirement) 


GA1, GA5 

Representative texts and references

Ambulance Victoria. (2016). Ambulance Victoria clinical practice guidelines for ambulance and MICA paramedics. Doncaster, Victoria : Ambulance Victoria. 

 Berman, A.J., Snyder, S., Levett-Jones, T., Dwyer, T., Hales, M., Harvey, N., ..  & Stanley, D.          (2015). Kozier & Erb's fundamentals of nursing: Concepts, process and practice (3rd  Aust. ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.   

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2006). National competency standards for the registered nurse. Retrieved from  

Driscoll, J. (2007). Practising clinical supervision: A reflective approach for healthcare professionals (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Bailliere Tindall. 

Forrester, K., & Griffiths, D. (2015). Essentials of law for health professionals (4th ed.). Sydney: Elsevier Australia.  

Hargreaves, J. (2013). Reflective practice. Hoboken: Wiley. 

Harris, P., Nagy, S., & Vardaxis, N. (Eds.), (2014).  Mosby’s dictionary of medicine, nursing, & health professions (3rd Aust.& N.Z. ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier Australia.  

Higgs,J., Ajjawi,R., McAllister,L., Trede,F. & Loftus,S. (2012). Communicating in the health sciences (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 

Jarvis, C. (2016). Physical examination and health assessment. (2nd Australian & New Zealand ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W. : Elsevier Australia. 

Levett-Jones, T. (Ed.), (2013).  Clinical reasoning: Learning to think like a nurse. Sydney, Australia: Pearson Education. 

McMurray, A. & Clendon, J. (2015). Community health and wellness: Primary health care in practice (5th ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W. : Elsevier Australia. 

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2006). National competency standards for the registered nurse. Retrieved from  

Sanders, M.J. (2012). Mosby’s paramedic textbook (4th  ed.).St Louis, MO: Elsevier. 

Stein-Parbury, J. (2014).  Patient and person: Interpersonal skills in nursing (5th ed.). Sydney: Elsevier Australia. 

Tollefson, J., & Hillman, E. (2016). Clinical psychomotor skills: Assessment tools for nurses (6th ed.). South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia. 

Willis, E., Reynolds, L., & Keleher, H. (2016). Understanding the Australian health care system (3rd ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier. 

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