NURS13141 - Acute Alterations in Health in Complex Care Environments

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Acute alterations in health occur suddenly, may be severe in onset, and may be exacerbated in chronic health conditions. In this unit, you will learn how to conduct clinical reasoning for people across the lifespan who experience acute, severe alterations in health. You will focus on care delivery, communication, person-centred care, and working in partnership with the interdisciplinary health care team to care for the deteriorating person in a complex care environment. This unit challenges you to think innovatively to justify and prioritise nursing care requirements to enable optimal health outcomes for people facing the challenges of an acute alteration in their health.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites


NURS12163 Chronic Health and Community Care

NURS12164 Professional Experience Placement 3 or NURS13133 Clinical Nursing Practice 4

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2023

Term 1 - 2023 Profile
Term 1 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Presentation 50%
2. Case Study 50%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 73.85% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 15.70% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student feedback: SUTE
I would have liked more constructive feedback on the assignment.
Unit coordinators will work closely with all markers and provide further direction on providing clearer and more constructive feedback. Although the moderation process was followed by the Unit Coordinators as per the University policy, several students within the small number of students who responded to the survey identified this as key issue. Although this is a very small number of students, we will aim to improve feedback content and processes through ensuring more clear direction to markers.
Action Taken
Source: Student feedback: SUTE
Overall, I absolutely enjoyed this unit. Unfortunately due to placement at beginning of term and work commitments I was unable to get to live lectures, but could relate and had a great understanding of all weeks contents as I was lucky enough to have an excellent PEP4 placement in ICU, so it was all relatable and well understood.
Unit coordinators will ensure that no students are disadvantaged from accessing materials. All tutorial recordings will continue to be uploaded on the same day they occur. The Unit Coordinators were cognisant of the fact that students may not be able to attend live tutorial sessions due to placement and other requirements, and offered multiple opportunities for contact and communication outside of live virtual sessions.
Action Taken
Source: Student feedback: SUTE
I really enjoyed the content of this subject and can see it is so valuable for our nursing degree. I would appreciate a study guide with weekly questions to assist in our learning.
This Unit comprises a comprehensive amount of clinical information relevant to contemporary practice in acute care settings. To enable students to consolidate this learning and its associated content, Unit Coordinators will extend the range of questions related to each module to reinforce the content and its application to the clinical setting.
Action Taken
Source: Student feedback: SUTE
Teachers were amazing
Unit coordinators will endeavor to continue to deliver unit content in an engaging and informative way, and provide support for all students throughout the duration of the term.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the pathophysiological changes that occur when a person experiences acute alterations in health.
  2. Apply the decision-making framework for nursing (NMBA 2020) to prioritise and justify care for the person experiencing acute alterations in health.
  3. Examine the role of the nurse and other members of the interdisciplinary team in the care of a person in a complex care environment.
  4. Analyse and apply the best available evidence, for safe, quality practice for a person experiencing an acute alteration in health.

Content in this unit incorporates a number of professional nursing requirements

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia decision-making framework (DMF) - nursing

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Registered Nurse Standards for Practice

Thinks critically and analyses nursing practice

Maintains the capability for practice

Develops a plan for nursing practice

Evaluates outcomes to inform nursing practice

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Nursing Code of Conduct

Legal compliance

Person-centred practice

Cultural practice and respectful relationships

Professional behaviour

Teaching, supervising and assessing

Research in health

Health and wellbeing

International Council of Nursing Code of Ethics for Nursing

Nurses and People

Nurses and Practice

Nurses and the Profession

Nurses and co-workers

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards

Clinical governance

Partnering with consumers

Preventing and Controlling healthcare-associated infection

Medication safety

Comprehensive care

Communicating for safety

Blood management

Recognising and responding to acute deterioration

Patient Safety Competency Framework

Person-centred care

Therapeutic communication

Cultural competence

Teamwork and collaborative practice

Clinical reasoning

Evidence-based practice

Preventing, minimising and responding to adverse events

Infection prevention and control

Medication safety

Aged Care Quality Standards

Consumer dignity and choice

Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers

Personal care and clinical care

Services and supports for daily living

Organisation’s service environment

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Presentation
2 - Case Study
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10