NURS20170 - Patient Deterioration in the Clinical Setting

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit examines clinical assessment and diagnostic reasoning to recognise and respond to a patient's deteriorating condition with appropriate and timely actions. This unit will enhance your knowledge of serious adverse events such as unexpected death and cardiac arrest which often follow observable deterioration in the patient’s condition. You will develop knowledge and skills in the early identification of deterioration, the initiation of prompt and effective action to minimise serious consequences, improve outcomes and lessen the level of intervention required to stabilise patients. The unit will focus on the underlying pathology of the patient's deteriorating condition and the interpretation of clinical manifestations to implement safe and effective nursing care.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level 8
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Students must be enrolled in CL22 Master of Clinical Nursing or CL16 Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing to undertake this unit.

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 3 - 2022

Term 1 - 2023 Profile
Term 2 - 2023 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 Postgraduate 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. Practical Assessment 0%
2. Presentation 0%

This is a pass/fail (non-graded) unit. To pass the unit, you must pass all of the individual assessment tasks shown in the table above.

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2019 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 3.6 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 9.68% 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: Comments from students and Hospital Health Service Educators
Streaming lining assessment - timing and duration
Stream lining the assessment process needs to be considered to account for the time taken, under simulation conditions, to identify and escalate the care of a deteriorating patient. This will be discussed at the next Course Reference Committee.
Action Taken
Streamlining of the assessments has been discussed at the Graduate Program Coordinators meetings. Streamlining has been incorporated in the completion of assessments in the unit with greater satisfaction with task completion being identified by the graduate program coordinators.
Source: Email and discussion
Request for more contact with Unit Coordinator
Regular (fortnightly) Zoom sessions to run in Term 2 2019. Regular (fortnightly) discussion posting by Unit Coordinator Continue visits to partnered Hospital & Health Services
Action Taken
Source: Moodle site, email and discussions at Hospital & Health Services.
Question over assessment tasks due dates.
Clarification of due dates with student and partners to minimise confusion via Zoom, the discussion board, and email.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain clinical parameters that indicate a patient is deteriorating
  2. Monitor and interpret physiological and psychosocial data to assess a patient's clinical deterioration
  3. Communicate effectively with health team and family members to ensure the accurate transfer and escalation of critical information
  4. Initiate interventions based on diagnostic results of clinical assessment tools and evaluate your nursing actions
  5. Critically examine everyday nursing practices and the ready use of tools related to the deteriorating patient.


Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Practical Assessment
2 - Presentation
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Practical Assessment
2 - Presentation