NURSING 5104OL - Microbiology and Epidemiology

Online - Semester 2 - 2018

This course builds on the students' knowledge of basic microbiology and will consider the epidemiology of common infectious diseases seen within the Australian population. The role of the infection control nurse will be considered in relation to epidemiological research, education and disease surveillance. Microbiology topics included the diagnosis, transmission and surveillance of infectious diseases.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 5104OL
    Course Microbiology and Epidemiology
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Online
    Units 6
    Contact Online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to GCert.NursSc and M.NursSc students only
    Course Description This course builds on the students' knowledge of basic microbiology and will consider the epidemiology of common infectious diseases seen within the Australian population. The role of the infection control nurse will be considered in relation to epidemiological research, education and disease surveillance. Microbiology topics included the diagnosis, transmission and surveillance of infectious diseases.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mrs Julia Muller Spiti

    Course Coordinator: Paul McLiesh
    Phone: +61 8 8313 6286
    Location: School of Nursing, The University of Adelaide

    School Office
    Phone: +61 8 8313 3595
    Location: Adelaide Health & Medical Sciences Building
    North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Identify the structure and function of microorganisms, their habitats and growth requirements as well as the methods used for diagnosis of bacterial and viral diseases all based on available evidence.
    2 Analyse the factors involved in pathogenicity and virulence of microorganisms and how this relates to the infective process
    3 Discuss the mechanisms of resistance to antimicrobial agents and the implications for control of infection in healthcare facilities
    4 Explain the use of bacterial strain typing and its application to the control of outbreaks of infection
    5 Discuss the principles of epidemiology and statistical methods relevant to the practice of infection control
    6 Distinguish the principles of epidemiological study design and how to control for bias and confounding
    7 Devise a surveillance system for healthcare associated infection and its application in a variety of healthcare settings
    8 Employ electronic data sources for infection control and learn how to formulate efficient information search strategies.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2, 5, 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4,5, 7, 8
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    5, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    5, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2010), National Health & Medical research Council. Accessed 14th June 2012.
    Available from:

    Bonita R, Beaglehole R, Kjellström T, Organization WH. Basic Epidemiology. 2nd edn, World Health Organization 2006.
    Available from the World Health Organisation at the following URL:

    Lee, G & Bishop, P 2013, Microbiology and infection control for health professionals, 5th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest.

    The readings for this course are available electronically via MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Campbell, MJ 2009, Statistics at square one, 11th edn, BMJ Books, London.

    Engelkirk, Paul G, & Duben-Engelkirk Janet 2011, Burton’s microbiology for the health sciences, 9th edn, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Giesecke, J 2002, Modern infectious disease epidemiology, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, New York.

    Heyman, DL 2004, Control of communicable diseases manual, 18th edn, American Public Health Association, Washington DC.

    Note: You are not required to buy recommended texts. However, they provide valuable supplementary reading on various aspects of the material covered within this course and you are encouraged to have a look at them.
    Online Learning
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework nursing program have access to the Adelaide Nursing School– Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site. This site will also feature information about the latest news and events at the School of Nursing.

    UNIFIED is your one-stop shop for email, calendar, MyUni and Access Adelaide. It even allows you to search the Library.
    UNIFIED is available to all active students; with a single login you can access your student systems and personal information through a central website. Login with your Student ID ("a1234567") and Password.

    For more information, including easy to follow instructions visit

    Library Resources
    Help for Nursing Students
    The University of Adelaide Library has a website to help nursing students use the library and its resource (

    Remote student library service
    The University of Adelaide Library provides a document delivery and loans service to non-metropolitan students who do not visit a University of Adelaide campus to attend classes (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course utilises flexible learning methods to enable it to be offered in an open learning format. Your Study guide and readings are provided via MyUni. You will need to purchase the prescribed texts. Each week you are directed to specific readings and the Study Guide contains interactive activities, which are designed to test and consolidate your knowledge and to develop your skills to critique. These readings and activities are designed to replace classes in the design of the course. Thus, working through them is vital to your successful completion of the course.

    Each topic corresponds to one week of study. A series of readings and activities are presented and you are advised to follow carefully what is required of you. You will be expected to undertake a substantial program of reading. A number of articles have been prescribed and these are contained in the Reader that forms part of the materials for this course. You are encouraged to read further and become familiar with accessing materials from libraries, databases and the Internet.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    While all students work at a different pace it is expected that study for this course will be approximately 24 hours per week of your time. This is a rough guide and may vary for students who have not studied recently
    Learning Activities Summary
    Basic Principles of Microbiology
    • history of microbiology and classification of microorganisms
    • structure and properties of microorganisms
    • growth requirements and habitats
    • survival strategies—methods to control growth.

    Laboratory Diagnosis of Infection
    • methods for isolation and identification of bacteria
    • antimicrobial sensitivity testing
    • diagnosis of viral infections
    • specimen collection and transport.

    Infectious Disease Transmission
    • ways in which microorganisms spread
    • reservoirs for infection in hospital environment
    • interrupting the transmission cycle.

    Host/microbe Interactions and the Disease Process
    • normal microbial flora of humans
    • endogenous and exogenous infection
    • levels of host defence against infection
    • pathogenicity and virulence.

    Managing Antibiotic Resistance
    • mechanisms of resistance to antibiotics
    • important emerging resistances
    • factors contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistant organisms
    • strategies for control of antibiotic resistance.

    Molecular Epidemiology and Outbreak Control
    • methods of strain typing of organisms
    • applications of molecular typing to infection control
    • when molecular typing of organisms is useful.

    Introduction to Epidemiology
    • brief history of epidemiology as a science
    • the scope of epidemiology
    • measures of disease frequency and distribution.

    Basic Statistical and Epidemiological Methods
    • samples and populations
    • descriptive statistics—the normal distribution
    • probability and p values
    • rates and proportions (prevalence versus incidence)
    • the concept of risk—ratios and relative risk
    • sensitivity and specificity.

    Study Design
    • descriptive studies and surveys
    • case-control and cohort studies
    • randomised controlled trials
    • bias and confounding.

    Surveillance Methods
    • what to monitor and how
    • uses of surveillance data
    • data collection, analysis and presentation of results
    • standardised definitions—national surveillance schemes.

    Computing and Data Management
    • use of computers in infection control
    • methods of collecting and storing data
    • automated analysis of data
    • presentation of results—use of QC charts
    • generating meaningful reports.

    Information Management
    • sources of information for the infection control practitioner
    • use of the Internet—the eICP
    • optimising literature search strategies
    • critical evaluation of epidemiological studies
    • evidence-based infection control—what is meta-analysis.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Referencing module Formative N/A
    Portfolio of Activities
    (one per week)
    Summative 45% 1-4, 6
    Essay Summative 40% 4-8
    Online quiz Summative 15% 1-5
    Assessment Detail

    In order to avoid plagiarism, students need to understand the meaning of citation, paraphrasing, quotation, and referencing. The module is an online quiz designed to ensure that student work is not plagiarised and source material is properly acknowledged according to the guidelines in the School Academic Manual. Students are encouraged to work through this quiz as many times as they need to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of these guidelines.
    The module is used as a formative assessment that has no percentage allocated to a final grade


    Weighting: 40%
    Length: 2,500 words
    Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are two agents which are responsible for health care associated infection. Compare and contrast their structure and metabolism, means of survival in the environment, and route of transmission. Discuss how these factors influence infection control policy and nursing management.


    Weighting: 15%
    Length: Completed online- 1500 word (equivalent)
    The quiz can be completed on MyUni. Go to the course on MyUni & follow the directions to the location. You can work on the quiz and it will save as you go. It does not need to be completed in ‘one go’.


    Weighting: 45%
    Length: 3,500 words (max. 500 words per week)
    Selecting at least one activity or discussion point from each Week, develop a portfolio consisting of your responses to those activities/discussion points selected. More than one activity or discussion point can be selected from a Week but all Weeks must be represented. The portfolio should contain a brief introduction.
    Assessments, unless otherwise stated in your Study guide, are to be submitted electronically via Assignments in MyUni on the due date identified in this Study guide. Instructions for assignment submission are available for all students under Tutorials at

    An assessment submitted via MyUni must be submitted as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file. If submitting a PowerPoint presentation for marking, the .ppt or .pptx must be submitted as .pdf file. It is also important to submit your file under your name, such as surname.firstname. MyUni stamps all the other details against your filename once you submit your assessment.

    Turnitin is used to submit all assignments in this course. Turnitin is a plagiarism software tool that enables the student to identify any matching text before final submission

    An Assignment Coversheet must be submitted with each assessment. The coversheet should be the first page of your assessment. A word version of the Assignment Coversheet is available to download at The Plagiarism Statement must be signed and dated for your assessment to be marked (please note the details stated on the Assignment Coversheet). More information on avoiding Plagiarism is available at
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Students are reminded that plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious offence and can result in disciplinary procedures. Students are advised to read the policy Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy, available at The following definitions should be noted.

    Referencing: providing a full bibliographic reference to the source of the citation (in a style as determined by the School).
    Quotation: placing an excerpt from an original source into a paper using either quotation marks or indentation, with the source cited, using an approved referencing system in order to give credit to the original author.
    Paraphrasing: repeating a section of text using different words which retain the original meaning.
    Please note: changing just a few words does not constitute paraphrasing.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide (

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    In line with student feedback minor changes to the balance of assessment items have been enacted so that in semester 2 of 2017 the weighting for essay has been increased and the quiz assessment decreased proportionately.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.