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

In Australia, it is estimated that mental illness will affect at least 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 10 children in any given year. The growing number of people diagnosed with mental illness indicates a need for clinicians to utilise targeted strategies to support appropriate interventions and recovery oriented models of care. Such models of care are integral to transforming attitudes and practice in mental health from paternalistic to socially inclusive and culturally safe practice which supports the dignity and rights of mental health consumers.

This unit examines the guiding principles of a recovery-oriented approach to mental illness and distress. A recovery-oriented approach emphasises hope for the future, whilst it values and respects the uniqueness, expertise and experience of the individual, their family / group, and their community. Principles of recovery oriented mental health nursing, including recognition of the uniqueness of the individual, real choices, attitudes and rights, dignity and respect, partnership and communication will be critically examined. Students will investigate and critically analyse a mental health culture in the light of social inclusion and how it fosters self-determination and resilience toward recovery.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with a sound understanding of recovery-oriented principles and to allow them to critically reflect on the way in which their learning of recovery-oriented practices has impacted on their clinical practice.

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 the origins and principles of ‘recovery’ emanating from the mental health consumer movement internationally and nationally (GA1)

LO2 - Describe how a person-centred approach to practice in a coordinated care model protects the individual’s rights, respects diversity, values the role of families/carers and peer support and promotes personal recovery (GA2, GA5)

LO3 - Promote the health and well-being of individuals with mental health problems through collaborative partnerships and ethically based care consistent with the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social and cultural safety of the individual (GA3, GA5, GA7)

LO4 - Reflect critically on the impact of trauma for individuals with mental distress, the impact on families and carers and the system’s ability to respond e.g. trauma assessments and trauma informed care approaches (GA4, GA7)

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - Recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively 


Topics will include:

Conceptual frameworks for recovery focused mental health nursing practice

  • The Consumer movement
  • The development of the recovery paradigm internationally and in Australia
  • The concept of recovery as experienced by the individual
  • The effect of mental illness and distress on care givers, family and significant others

Recovery principles

  • Self determination
  • Self-management
  • Personal growth
  • Empowerment
  • Meaningful social engagement

Recovery in models of care in mental health nursing practice

  • Enabling service systems that promote and facilitate recovery for the individual
  • Foundations of person-centred practice
  • Current and contemporary models of recovery including solutions/strengths and individually developed approaches to recovery
  • Alternative paradigms in mental health practice

Coping & Resilience

  • Individual and group therapies toward identifying coping mechanisms
  • Coping strategies
  • Frameworks for building resilience
  • Impact of trauma and trauma informed care approaches
  • Social values and cultural safety

Legal and ethical practice in a recovery focused paradigm

  • National and international legislation that informs and protects the individual’s human rights
  • Recovery in National mental health policy and plans in Australia

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises an active learning process offered in online mode delivery through the learning environment online (LEO) via eLearning link. This approach to learning is flexible and inclusive, enabling students to access a range of learning opportunities form a variety of geographical locations. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the development of the recovery paradigm internationally and in Australia, the concept of recovery as experienced by the individual, the implementation of recovery-oriented practices and the legal and ethical dimensions of mental health practice. This will be achieved through student-centred learning and teaching activities completed through online learning activities.  These online activities include, Inquiry Based Learning, student seminars, discussion forums, chat rooms, oral presentations, guided readings with links to electronic readings, self-assessments, self-directed learning and webinars that will provide students with the opportunity to analyse and critically evaluate the recovery-oriented approach in their clinical practice. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy used allows for the progressive development of knowledge and skills necessary for the student to be able to demonstrate ethical and effective professional practice in the delivery of recovery-oriented models of care.

In order to effectively and safely implemented recovery-oriented frameworks of care into professional practice, the student must first demonstrate a sound understanding of the evidence underpinning recovery oriented models of practice. Students will be further supported to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between the consumer’s lived experience and mental health practice via the online platform through regular interaction, culminating in an individual presentation to peers and staff. Finally, students will critically reflect on their developing understanding and integration of recovery-oriented practice. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Written Assessment 

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts related to the evidence and efficacy of recovery-oriented practice.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Assessment Task 2: Online Seminar Presentation

Duration: 30 minutes

Provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between the consumers’ lived experience and mental health practice.


LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7

Assessment Task 3: Critical Reflective Essay 

Students will critically evaluate their developing understanding of the theories and contemporary models that support recovery-oriented practice. 


LO2, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Deegan, P.E. (1997) Recovery and empowerment for people with psychiatric disabilities. In U Aviram (Ed) Social Work in Mental Health Care: Trends and Issues. The Haworth Press, USA, 11-24.

Foster, K., Marks, P., O'Brien. A. & Raeburn, T. (2020). Mental health in nursing, 5th ed. Elsevier 

Hercelinskjy, G. & Alexander, L. (2020). Mental health nursing: applying theory to practice. Cengage: Singapore.  

Johns, C. (2013). Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, (4th Ed) Wiley- Blackwell:UK

Procter, N., Hamer, H., McGarry, D., Wilson, R., & Froggatt, T. (2017). Mental health : a person-centred approach, (2 ed.). Port Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

State of Victoria Department of Health. (2011). Framework for recovery-oriented practice.

Melbourne: Mental Health, Drugs and Regions Division. Victorian Government.

Tew, J., Ramon, S., Slade, M., Bird, V., Melton, J., & Le Boutillier, C. (2012). Social Factors and Recovery from Mental Health Difficulties: A Review of the Evidence. British Journal of Social Work, 42(3), 443-460.

Waldemar, A., Arnfred, S., Petersen, L., & Korsbek, L. (2016). Recovery-Oriented Practice in Mental Health Inpatient Settings: A Literature Review. Psychiatric Services, 67(6), 596-602.

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