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

Health care delivery is focussed on the person - generally at a time of great vulnerability. This unit is required by students to assist them in understanding the people they will interact with in clinical practice through an understanding of human behaviour.

This unit focuses on the person as the centre of the health care experience. Health and wellness will be explored from a biopsychosocial and lifespan perspective. Psychological concepts and theories underpinning human behaviour, health behaviour acquisition, therapeutic communication and health behaviour change will be introduced. These concepts will be applied to the personal and professional self and then to practice.

The aim of this unit is to support students to develop the capacity to practice person-centred care, with a focus on outcomes which are best for the person and/or groups they care for and interact with.

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 development of the person from a lifespan perspective, taking into consideration biopsychosocial factors and the person’s life experience (GA1, GA5)

LO2 - Explain the role of resilience in human behaviour (GA5)

LO3 - Discuss and apply an understanding of psychological concepts and theories of human behaviour, health and wellbeing, and health behaviour change (GA5, GA6)

LO4 - Explain and evaluate the theoretical and professional dimensions of communication and demonstrate the ability to work respectfully with others (GA5, GA9)

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

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

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

NMBA Registered Nurse Standards for Practice

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Registered Nurse Standards for Practice developed in this unit are: 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1. Thinks critically and analyses nursing practice.

1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7

LO3, LO4

2. Engages in therapeutic and professional relationships.

2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.7

LO1, LO2, LO4

3. Maintains the capability for practice.

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.7

LO3, LO4

4. Comprehensively conducts assessments.

4.2, 4.3, 4.4

LO1, LO3, LO4

5. Develops a plan for nursing practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

6. Provides safe, appropriate and responsive quality nursing practice.

6.1, 6.2, 6.5, 6.6

LO1, LO4

7. Evaluates outcomes to inform nursing practice.

7.1, 7.2, 7.3

LO1, LO4

NMBA Midwife Standards for Practice

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Registered Midwife Standards for Practice developed in this unit are:

Standards/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Promotes health and wellbeing through evidence-based midwifery practice

1.1; 1.2; 1.6

LO1, LO2

Engages in professional relationships and respectful partnerships

2.1; 2.2; 2.3; 2.4; 2.5; 2.6; 2.7


Undertakes comprehensive assessments



Develops a plan for midwifery practice


LO3, LO4

Provides safety and quality in midwifery practice

6.3, 6.4


Evaluates outcomes to improve midwifery practice




Topics will include: 

  • Becoming a health professional: 
  • Working with people
  • Self-awareness
  • Professional communication
  • Therapeutic Use of Self
  • Active listening skills
  • Therapeutic use of professional relationships
  • Biopsychosocial approaches to understanding health and health behaviour
  • The effects of social class, gender and ethnicity on health behaviour
  • Human behaviour:
  • Lifespan development: psychosocial and cognitive
  • Family: forms, functions and roles
  • How people learn: learning models and theories
  • Personality
  • Personality and health
  • Health behaviour:
  • Models of health behaviour
  • Importance of understanding health behaviour: National Health Priorities
  • Health behaviour change:
  • Health behaviour change models
  • Foundation skills for behaviour change: therapeutic communication; professional boundaries Approaches to behaviour change
  • Introduction to Motivational Interviewing
  • Building Resilience:
  • Healthcare consumers
  • Health professionals
  • Building safe and supportive environments working with specific vulnerable populations

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit requires students to undertake 150 hours of focused learning to achieve the unit learning outcomes. Modes of delivery in this unit include lectures, tutorials, 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 foundational knowledge and skills relevant to professional nursing 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 and to identify progress toward required learning outcomes. Located in the first year of the programme, this theory unit includes significant face-to-face teaching hours and a directed online component to introduce students to managing their study off-campus. Lectures are utilised to convey content and its central principles while tutorials deliver interactive learning sessions which include formative feedback to build foundational tertiary study skills while also providing an opportunity to establish group-work and learning community skills. Online materials are introduced to provide students with a foundation for ongoing, directed, self-motivated study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment items consistent with University assessment requirements and policy will be used to ensure students achieve the unit learning outcomes and attain the graduate attributes. These assessments are required to build student knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable the student to graduate as a safe and effective nurse.

The online quizzes provide students with an opportunity for early, low stakes assessment to measure their progress within the unit and to adjust their study habits accordingly. The written assessment examines the understanding of the person from a lifespan perspective taking into consideration the role of resilience in human behaviour and experience with behavioural change. The oral exam is required to ensure students understand the basis of communication and engagement with individuals and groups – a skill central to working within a person-centred profession. The variety in these unit assessments is required to ensure students are able to communicate with both the individual and the group across a range of settings – all health care professionals require sound communication skills for successful graduate practice in person-centred professions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Early, low stakes assessment.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA6

Written Assessment

Personal experience with behavioural change.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA9

Oral Exam and Reflection (group work with individual allocation of grades)

Communication activity - engaging with individuals and groups.


LO3, LO4

GA5, GA6, GA9

Representative texts and references

Barkway, P. (2013). Psychology for health professionals (2nd ed.). Sydney, N.S.W.: Churchill Livingstone/ Elsevier.

Bernstein, D.A., Pooly, J.A., Cohen, L., Gouldthorp, B., Provost, S., Cranney, J., … & Roy, E.J. (2013). Psychology: An international discipline in context (Australian and New Zealand ed. South Melbourne: Cengage.

Brannon, L., Feist, J., & Updegraff, J.A. (2014). Health psychology: An introduction to behavior and health (8th ed.). Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Hoffnung, M., Hoffnung, R.J., Seifert, K. L., Hine, A., Pause, C., Ward, L., Signal, T., Swabey, K.; Yates, K., & Burton Smith, R. (2018). Lifespan Development (4th Australasian Edition). Wiley.

Honeycutt A., & Milliken M. (2012). Understanding human behavior (8th ed.). New York, NY: Delmar/Cengage.

Mason, P., & ClinicalKey. (2019). Health behaviour change: A guide for practitioners (3rd ed.). Elsevier.

Miller, W. R., and Rollnick, S. (2012). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.

Rosengren, D. B., & ProQuest. (2018) Building motivational interviewing skills: A practitioner workbook (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.

Sigelman, C., Rider, E., & De George-Walker L. (2018). Lifespan human development (33rd Australian and New Zealand ed.). South Melbourne, Vic.: Cengage.

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